A Japanese woman has etched her name in history by becoming the first female councilor. Misuzu Ikeda is forty-five years old and has formerly worked as a tax office employee. She finished third out of 17 candidates. Ikeda was elected to Tarumizu’s assembly, which is a 14-seat assembly. Although Tarumizu has a population of just 15,000, the city was founded on October 1, 1958. The first assemblywoman vowed in her winning speech “to make my best efforts to create a society where residents can feel cared about and have a sense of warmth.”
Ikeda’s success created history, as it is the first time ever in the past 20 years that a woman had run for the Tarumizu assembly. In another record-breaking incident, this year also witnessed the first time two female candidates competing for a seat. Ikeda’s victory was especially notable because, although the female population of Tarumizu is significantly more than that of men, the women still take a backseat in politics. Japan’s male-dominated society is attributed to be one of the reasons for this deprivation. In the nationwide local elections which were held on Sunday, every four out of five local assembly members were male. On the other hand, almost 20 percent of assemblies had no female councilors at all. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had vowed to create better opportunities for women, but he appointed only one woman, the regional revitalization minister, Satsuki Katayama, to his cabinet in a reshuffle last October. A survey by the Inter-Parliamentary Union alleges that out of 193 countries, Japan ranks 165th for female parliamentary representation.