TOKYO (TR) – A group campaigning to change the culture surrounding what footwear women wear in workplaces in Japan presented a petition to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Monday, reports Fuji News Network (June 4).
According to the group, societal norms pressure women to wear high heels and pumps, which can be painful, at offices across the country. It also extends to job-seeking activities.
The group of eight persons submitted the petition, containing more than 19,000 signatures collected on the site Change.org over the past four months, to the Equal Employment Opportunity Division. “Don’t force women to wear high-heeled [shoes] at work,” the initiative reads on the site.
“I want to change the atmosphere within society a little bit,” said actress and writer Yumi Ishikawa. “I think it would be nice if women were able to wear flat leather shoes similar to men, who are not viewed being in violation of proper manners.”
Ichikawa said that while working part-time as an undertaker she started to question why women are coerced to wear uncomfortable footwear.
On social media platforms the initiative uses the hashtag #KuToo — an amalgamation of the words kutsu (shoe) and kutsuu (pain) and “me too,” the worldwide movement in opposition to sexual harassment that gained prominence in 2017.
The support Ishikawa has received justifies the initiative, she said.
“Because I could not find a suitable pump [while working] I was put in a situation where there were a lot of people who viewed me in a negative light, but I think that the [accumulated] signatures show that I was not,” she said.
「 #ハイヒール を職場で履くことを強制しないでほしい」
靴と苦痛それに「#MeToo」をかけた「 #KuToo 」というハッシュタグには多くの投稿が。
女性たちの悩みとは…。 #nhk #NW9 pic.twitter.com/yZOPaTz9Ii
— ニュースウオッチ９ (@nhk_nw9) June 3, 2019