January 10, 2013

U.S. Enshrined Women's Rights in Japan

Todd Crowell, RealClearHistory

AP Photo

Years before the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution flared and then fizzled, Americans wrote an ERA (actually an article) into Japan’s post-war constitution. To be more accurate, a young woman, Beate Sirota Gordon, wrote the language of Article 24 that guarantees equal rights for women.


Gordon passed away over New Year’s at age 89, the last surviving member of that small cadre of American occupation officers and civilians who drafted Japan’s post-war charter that is still in force and has never been amended. Her memory lives on with Japan’s feminists, who often refer to her handiwork as “Beate’s Gift.”



The document is best known for its famous war-renouncing Article 9, but even more far reaching in...

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