More than 19,000 people in Japan have signed a petition to ban office dress codes which force women to wear high heels to work.
“I’m hoping to get rid of the custom that someday women have to wear heels and pumps at work,” she wrote on the social network.
In her tweets, Ishikawa coined the hashtag #KuToo, which is both a play on two Japanese words — “kutsu,” meaning shoes, and “kutsuu,” meaning pain — and a pun on the #MeToo hashtag, which represents an international movement against sexual harassment.
#KuToo has since been used by women to talk about their experiences on social media.
The Japan High Heel Association managing director “Madame” Yumiko gives a lesson on high heels in Tokyo.
Credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
An official at Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s equal employment opportunity division said it had no plans to change the rules around whether employers could require staff to wear certain clothes or shoes. There are currently no laws that restrict companies from regulating employees’ work wear.
The official noted that men were also subject to rules, as they were often required to wear ties and leather shoes. “If common sense or ideas about manners in society change, the rules might be subject to change,” said the official.
The country ranks bottom among the G7 countries for gender equality, despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to empower working women through a policy called “womenomics.”