Shidzue Katō(1897-2001)
Women’s Rights Activist

A notable 20th-century Japanese feminist, Shidzue Katō was the first woman elected to the Diet of Japan after Japanese women gained the right to vote in 1946. Her passion for family planning and improving the economic prospects of women was her campaign platform. In 1946, she led the first “women only” rally in Tokyo to protest for greater economic resources for women.

Even after her retirement, she continued to speak out about feminist issues, as well as continued to chair the Family Planning Federation of Japan. In 1988, she received the United Nations Population Award and the Katō Shizdue Award was established to honor her work. She was 104 when she died on December 22, 2001. Thanks to her amazing works, there was, and still is, a decrease in the number of abortions, infant mortality, and maternal death rates in Japan.