Renho Murata became the first woman to lead the opposition Democratic Party in Japan after winning a leadership contest on September 15, 2016. By winning the leadership contest, Ms. Murata became the third woman to take up a prominent political job in Japan in less than two months, heralding a budding shift in a country with an abysmal track record of putting women in power.
In her final speech before the vote, Ms. Murata, a former model and television news anchor, spoke emotionally about her children, 19-year-old twins, and how she was sometimes frustrated trying to balance work and motherhood. But in her acceptance speech, she did not refer to her gender, speaking only about the challenges ahead. “I ask you all to work together so that our party will be chosen by people for our competence in making proposals, our creativity and our vision for the country,” she said.
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