In the latest turn of events, a group of Japanese women have submitted an appeal to the government asking them to support their plight against forcing women to wear heeled shoes in office. The campaign was started by actress and freelance writer Yumi Ishikawa, who submitted the petition to the Health Ministry of Japan on Monday. Ishikawa launched the campaign after her tweet drawing attention to a woman being forced to wear heels at a funeral parlour went viral.
The tweet garnered an overwhelming response from other women who confessed having gone through similar problems. The tweet has since gotten over 20,000 responses from her followers.
Ironically the word 'kutsu' means shoes in Japanese and a similar word 'kutsuu' is synonymous to pain.
This is her tweet in Japanese-
— 石川優実@#KuToo署名中👞👠 (@ishikawa_yumi) November 3, 2019
Ishikawa wrote, “After work, everyone changes into sneakers or flats. It’s hard to move, you can’t run and your feet hurt. All because of manners.” She went on to highlight the health consequences of wearing heels for such long hours that can cause bunions, blisters and strain the lower back.
The campaign is also in news since it drew a lot of parallels with the existing #MeToo campaign that was related to sexual harrasment and sexual assault.
Ishikawa met the labour ministry officials and addressing the reporters said, “Today we submitted a petition calling for the introduction of laws banning employers from forcing women to wear heels as sexual discrimination or harassment.” She also said that a government employee who “was a woman and sympathetic to our petition … and told us that this is the first time voices of this kind had reached the ministry”.
“It’s the first step forward,” Ishikawa added.
For those of you who don't know, wearing high heels for women is considered to be near obligatory to scoring a job or working at most Japanese companies. This campaign is a step in the new direction.