Beate Gordon was Jewish. Gordon was born Beate Sirota, 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. She was the only woman to become a feminist heroine in Japan in modern times.
Gordon was a civilian attached to General Douglas MacArthur’s army of occupation after World War II and she was the last living member of the American team that wrote Japan’s postwar Constitution, which gave women the legal rights pertaining to marriage, divorce, property and inheritance.
Beate Sirota Gordon died on Sunday, December 30, 2012 at her home in Manhattan at the age of 89.