“It’s the first step forward"

Thousands of women are standing up against being forced to wear high heels at work

The Guardian reports that thousands of Japanese women have signed a petition to protest against requirements for female staff to wear heels at work.

Trending as #KuToo, the KuToo campaign is a play on the Japanese word ‘kutsu’ and ‘kutsuu’ which mean shoes and pain respectively.

Actor and freelance writer Yumi Ishikawa stirred up the campaign and garnered support online. At the time of writing, the online petition has almost 19,500 signatures.

“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.

She added that a government official “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.

Currently, no laws prevent companies from restricting what employees wear to work. An official at Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s equal employment opportunity division said no plans had been made to change these rules.

“If common sense or ideas about manners in society change, the rules might be subject to change,” said the official.