What a delight to read about Caroline Kennedy’s successful tenure as the United States Ambassador to Japan! As reported by Moroko Rich in the New York Times, Caroline Kennedy, who was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama, was the first woman to hold the post in Japan, a traditionally male-dominated society. While mocked unfairly by Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, she was, in fact, a trusted and respected diplomat who managed relations well with one of our most important allies. In addition, she built strong relationships in government and business communities as well as with the broader public.
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, will probably be remembered best in Japan for two contributions during her tenure: the central role she played in getting President Obama to make his historic reconciliation visit to Hiroshima and her encouragement to the women of Japan to keep fighting for women’s rights. Women in Japan are discouraged from working outside the home, and few women hold positions of authority in government or business.
Kennedy sent notes of encouragement to a female lawmaker being taunted for speaking out for women’s rights. She held gatherings of women leaders to encourage them and spoke about empowerment at conferences. As the first woman ambassador to Japan from the United States, she was a public role model — a visible woman leader who was also a mother. Rich notes that Kennedy also supported Prime Minister Abe’s commitment to expand opportunities for women, and she sent a quiet message of empowerment to the women of Japan in many large and small ways.
Public service is a long tradition in the Kennedy family. Let’s hope there is more public service in Caroline’s future!
Have you been inspired by Caroline’s work? Who are some of the women leaders you admire?
Anne Litwin, Ph.D. is an Organizational Development and Human Resources Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Author of ‘New Rules for Women: Revolutionizing the Way Women Work Together.’
Originally published at annelitwin.com on March 6, 2017.