beate sirota gordon

Beate Sirota Gordon, who at 22 almost single-handedly wrote women’s rights into the Constitution of modern Japan, and then kept silent about it for decades, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 89. The Constitution gave women legal rights pertaining to marriage, divorce, property and inheritance that they had long been without in Japan’s feudal society — the effects of which endure to this day. 

RIP, Beate, and Arigatou gozaimasu! 

Beate Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89

Beate Sirota Gordon, the daughter of Russian Jewish parents who at 22 almost single-handedly wrote women’s rights into the Constitution of modern Japan, and then kept silent about it for decades, only to become a feminist heroine there in recent years, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 89.

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Her work — drafting language that gave women a set of legal rights pertaining to marriage, divorce, property and inheritance that they had long been without in Japan’s feudal society — had an effect on their status that endures to this day.

“It set a basis for a better, a more equal society,” Carol Gluck, a professor of Japanese history at Columbia University, said Monday in a telephone interview. “By just writing those things into the Constitution — ourConstitution doesn’t have any of those things — Beate Gordon intervened at a critical moment. And what kind of 22-year-old gets to write a constitution?” 
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Go read about her life. It is amazing.