#KuToo no more! Japanese women take a stand against high heels

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 5, 2019 - Duration: 01:35s

#KuToo no more! Japanese women take a stand against high heels

A social media campaign against dress codes and expectations that women wear high heels at work has gone viral in Japan, with thousands joining the #KuToo movement.

Grace Jerome reports.

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#KuToo no more! Japanese women take a stand against high heels

Thousands of women in Japan are taking a stand against high heels.

Nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition railing against work dress codes that make high heels mandatory.

The campaign is called #KuToo - a play on the Japanese words for "shoe" and pain." It was all started by Yumi Ishikawa, who submitted the petition to the health ministry on Monday (June 3).

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) #KUTOO CAMPAIGN FOUNDER, YUMI ISHIKAWA SAYING: "Many people need to realize there is a fundamental sexual discrimination.

We need to be angry about this.

But we've been taught to live with it for many years.

I think it is very important for us to be aware that we are not treated fairly, and we have to be angry about it." Ishikawa's tweets about being forced to wear heels at a part-time job at a funeral parlor nonetheless went viral, striking a chord among women who feel her pain.

(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 22 YEAR-OLD JAPANESE RESIDENT, YUMI TANAKA, SAYING: "I feel free and relaxed after I come home and take off my high heels.

They hurt my feet." While many companies may not explicitly require high heels, many women wear them because of tradition and social pressure.

Japan ranks low among the World Economic Forum's index of gender equality: 110 out of 149 countries.

That's despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "womenomics," a policy designed to empower working women.

For Ishkawa though, a leg-up for gender diversity starts with a step down.

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