Skip to main site content.
Female office workers wearing high heels, clothes, and bags of the same color in a Tokyo business district on June 4, 2019. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Foot fight

Japanese women urge government to ban bosses from enforcing high heels

By WITW Staff on June 5, 2019

Japanese women have submitted a petition to the government in protest of what they say is essentially a requirement for female employees: wearing high heels to work.

The Guardian reports that the “KuToo” campaign — a play on words from the Japanese kutsu, meaning shoes, and kutsuu, meaning pain — was launched by actor and writer Yumi Ishikawa.

“Today we submitted a petition calling for the introduction of laws banning employers from forcing women to wear heels as sexual discrimination or harassment,” Ishikawa told reporters after meeting with ministry officials, adding that a female government official had told her she was “sympathetic to our petition.”

In a tweet earlier this year, Ishikawa had complained about being required to wear high heels for a hotel job, and the tweet went viral, prompting her to launch the campaign.

Some supporters likened mandatory high heels to modern foot-binding, according to The Guardian. Others urged that dress codes be loosened for men as well, such as the business suits that dominate the Japanese workplace.

A similar petition against high heels at work was signed by more than 150,000 people in the UK, according to The Guardian, when receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home by accounting firm PwC on her first day of work in May 2016 for wearing flats.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

Related

Worker fired for not wearing high heels disappointed in government response

New Japanese trend: “high-heels” classes as a tool for female empowerment

Kristen Stewart stages apparent red carpet protest of Cannes Film Festival’s notorious high-heels rule