The anti-heel movement, literally derived from the words shoes and pain, began in January 2019, quickly gained popularity and became known outside of Japan.
What’s wrong with heels
It all started with a tweet in January 2019. Successful model and actress Yumi Ishikawa, who was a former office worker, wrote that women should be forced to wear heels at work. The publication quickly gathered a huge number of likes and reposts, women not only agreed with the tweet, but also told their stories, attached photos.
It was then that a petition was launched to ban requiring women to wear high heels at work. In June of that year, the petition was submitted to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. As it turned out, until that time there had been no such appeals, although it was already the 21st century.
“We should get angry, and we are trained to be silent for years,” said Yumi Ishikawa. Indeed, Japan is a country of traditional values, where women are not used to protests and indignations, especially in culture it is not customary to express negative emotions. That is, Yumi Ishikawa went not just against the dress code, but against the whole value system, which has long demanded changes, at least the recognition of gender discrimination.
However, the Japanese society reacted to the initiative — after all, the safety of employees at the workplace in the country is among the main priorities. The movement was named #
The requirement to wear heels is the tip of the iceberg of social inequality
However, no law that would affect employers was put forward. The authorities considered that everything has already been regulated in the general rules. Japanese employers are notorious for their strict dress code requirements for both genders. However, gender discrimination is visible in them.
Heels have become just one, albeit quite vivid, illustration of this statement.
But back to heels. According to surveys, 60% of Japanese women are forced to wear high-heeled shoes in the workplace, as required by company rules, and this obligation also applies to employees who spend a lot of time on their feet, are forced to wear heavy things, those who work after illness or injury.
public support #grew — the name symbolized not just a movement against heels, but the fight against injustice and gender inequality.
Is there a chance to win heels
To the movement #listen — this is noticeable in the changes in the internal documents of Japanese and foreign companies. The requirement to wear heels is canceled even in companies engaged in hospitality services, as well as in relation to waitresses, stewardesses, casino workers, secretaries. At the state level, few dared to fix the prohibition of discrimination — in particular, such an initiative was undertaken and received official registration in Canada.
The problem remains — after all, when applying for a job, employees agree to certain requirements and restrictions, including in terms of the dress code. True, even here it is possible to fight against unwritten rules that worsen the position of women. By the way, a similar petition was created in 2016 in the UK, initiated by Nicola Thorpe, who was fired from a large auditing company for violating shoe rules. The public outcry led to a revision of the internal policy of a number of employers in favor of women and not in favor of heels.
Heels themselves are not considered forces of evil — no one has the right to forbid a woman (or a man) to wear such shoes — except, perhaps, those places and institutions where heels, due to their specific features, are banned (for example, in some museums) . And the movement #fights not with the heels themselves, but with their imposition on working women.
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