Mandatory high heels at work triggers an online petition in Japan

Most women – particularly those who are working office jobs – are expected to be wearing high heels because they need to appear “more attractive, more empowering, and more professional.”

In Japan, more than 18,000 people appealed against mandatory high heels at work imposed by companies or employers.

Heels for women, although striking, cause discomfort compared to men who have the option to wear more comfortable flats.

According to New York Times, thousands of supporters signed a petition calling for a law against this practice. They have raised their concerns behind the hashtag #KuToo, a pun originated from the Japanese words for shoe (kutsu) and pain (kutsuu).

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The 32-year-old actress, Yumi Ishikawa, started this petitiion with the hopes of giving women a break from standing, walking, and doing their jobs while bearing the pain caused by these types of footwear.

She shared the same struggles with working women.

According to Ishikawa’s statement to New York times, she had to switch career after experiencing difficulty standing in heels for eight hours during training at a hotel.

But after the petition has been submitted, officials think it would be hard to create a legislation for this matter until the culture of the working world changes.

“I guess the government and corporate communities don’t want to take a risk to change the society,” Ishikawa told Times.

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Even Japan’s health and labor minister Takumi Nemoto defended employers who require women to wear high heels.

“It is socially accepted as something that falls with the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate,” he said.

Meanwhile, a law had been passed prohibiting employers to force their employees to wear high heels at work in the Philippines since 2017.