Business WomanThe Kirijo Group is an international company that is rumored to be involved with every aspect of life. Finding someone who has never heard of at least their name is very rare. As the only child of the group's leader, Mitsuru has been involved in a large portion of the group's affairs since she was young. She is to be her father's successor as the head of the group and everyone has very high expectations of her. Mitsuru is relatively comfortable in the professional world and interacting with others on a professional level. If she doesn't go on a date with the protagonist on Christmas Eve, she would have been at a fancy party mingling with CEOs and presidents of other companies. Mitsuru takes her responsibility for the Kirijo Group very seriously and is willing to make numerous sacrifices for the group's success. Or at least, that's what she forces herself to believe. Mitsuru does indeed have a sense of responsibility for Kirijo Group affairs, but I think it's only because of her strong feelings for her father. She wants to make him proud and reduce any stressors he may feel as a result of the company. Therefore, Mitsuru works very hard in order to prove she is capable of being the leader's daughter.
However, being an active member of the Kirijo Group makes her scorn her sex. In talking to the protagonist, Mitsuru wonders out loud why she had to be born a woman. She's had to put forth much more effort than the other men in the group in order to ensure no one could look down on her for being a woman. Yet, what has her effort brought her? Mitsuru explains how despite her hard work, she can't escape the realities of being a woman in the business world. Other members treat her like a child despite being 18 even though they likely would not do so if she were a man. Mitsuru is also expected to make a number of sacrifices. She is being pressured to get married to a near complete stranger, which would then strip her of her name and group. Mitsuru is then expected to conceive an heir with that man for the future. In other words, Mitsuru is being told that her role in making the Kirijo Group prosper is to get married and have a baby. Her hard work doesn't mean anything because her husband will assume command. She needs him in order for the company to succeed. She can't go to college and do anything else with her life, either. Dejected, Mitsuru wonders where in that role she is needed, not her body.
Stereotypes about women being weak and using their body to get places in the "real world" are extreme triggers for her. When her fiancé attacks the female protagonist and says it must be nice to be a girl for those reasons while men have to have real talent, Mitsuru becomes absolutely enraged. She had remained silent for the most part up until that point but his words just pushed her over the edge. She was struggling with women being put-down in the business world and her so-called fiancé spouting them was just the icing on the cake. Clearly then, Mitsuru feels very passionately about the subject that she's lived through.
Mitsuru explains how the female protagonist helps her through her gender struggles during her social link. In the beginning, she wonders if she chose the protagonist to lead the group in order to prove to herself there were no differences between men and women. If the protagonist could lead SEES successfully, that would just be evidence women can be effective leaders as well. Once she realizes how much she has come to depend on their relationship, Mitsuru sees how much she has been complaining despite making the decision to go through with the engagement. Rather than considering the possibility she is simply unhappy with her choice, her thoughts immediately jump to the conclusion she's "weak" and "just a woman waiting for someone to support her." I wouldn't doubt if she's heard things like that from others in the company since they are stereotypes. To her, men push aside their feelings and do what needs to be done. They are strong and never falter. Mitsuru becomes depressed when she sees she can't hold herself up to the image she created. Through watching the protagonist, though, she realizes that she was the one who was most hung up on the concept of femininity. She claims she used "because I am a woman" and "despite being a woman" as excuses for being a coward. The protagonist was "outwardly adorable" and yet was more courageous, strong and charismatic than a man. Her sex had nothing to do with her character. Seeing this, Mitsuru tells herself she will no longer allow being a woman to shackle her because she has things only she can do.
Although Mitsuru says she was using femininity as an excuse for failing, I am sure the gender conflict wasn't all in her head. Historically speaking, women did not hold prominent roles in the business world, especially in Japan. Men were expected to get jobs in some sort of company, work hard with other men and come home to their wife who had been tending to the house all day. Even in modern day the proportion of men to women in positions like CEO and president is ridiculously uneven. Being a woman in the business world is slowly becoming more accepted but there are still numerous accounts of women facing gender discrimination in the workplace. Men even get paid more than women in the exact same position! Realistically then, Mitsuru likely faced much gender discrimination, which was only enhanced by her young age, when she took over the company. Luckily, Mitsuru is able to overcome the negativity towards women in the business world that is encouraged by society and gain the confidence to lead the group without getting married to her fiancé. She can be who she is and still accomplish what she envisions for the group successfully.