Majority of Female Workers Inconvenienced by High Heel Policy in Japan

One of the most sensational issues involving Japanese companies this year is that a vast majority of female workers and even those seeking for employment in Japan are complaining against the imposition of mandatory high heel policy in the workplace. This controversy stemmed from the petition initiated by Yumi Ishikawa, a Japanese actress who publicly expressed her sentiments after experiencing pains and difficulties standing in high heels for several hours during a hotel training. The said petition calling for the ban on company rules requiring high heels at work was submitted to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry last June 3, 2019. It was supported by more than eighteen thousand female employees in Japan.


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After the controversial petition was made public, a lot of studies were carried out in order to shed light on the matter. A recent survey conducted by Business Insider Japan revealed that more than sixty percent of women in Japan are inconvenienced by the implementation of the mandatory high heel policy while working within the company premises and even in the process of job application. The said survey was participated in by more than two hundred workers in the country. Majority of the female working population admitted that they suffered health concerns as a consequence of the high heel policy.


The recent issues solicited various opinions and points of view with regard to gender-based workplace discrimination. According to Kanako Otsuji, the representative of Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, “I believe we’ve realized that some of the social conventions we take for granted are wrong.” She further called for women empowerment in Japan with the statement: “Let’s raise our voices together. Change will not occur if we remain silent.”


On the other hand, the Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Takumi Nemoto is firm in his decision that he is not in favor of banning the mandatory high heel policy in the workplace. For him, wearing of heels is “generally accepted by society” as “necessary and reasonable.”


Reference: Over 60% of women see rules on heels enforced at work, study finds


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