#KuToo: why women in Japan are campaigning against high heels

Yumi Ishikawa started a petition which now has more than 30,000 signatures

Yumi Ishikawa is the leader and founder of the KuToo movement. AFP
Yumi Ishikawa is the leader and founder of the KuToo movement. AFP

More than 20,000 people have backed a growing campaign in Japan calling for the end of dress codes that require women to wear high heels at work.

The movement is being dubbed as #KuToo – a play on the Japanese word for pain, “kutsu”, and the #MeToo movement. It was started by Yumi Ishikawa, who says she was forced to wear heels at her job working part-time in a funeral parlour.

She started a petition, which has since gone viral on Twitter, with more than 30,000 shares.

In the petition, Ishikawa states that high heels can cause women a number of health issues, and had become a burden to her employment.

"I hope this campaign will change the social norm so that it won't be considered to be bad manners when women wear flat shoes like men," Ishikawa told the BBC.

She added that a ministry official she had met with to discuss the petition was sympathetic to the situation.

Workplaces requiring women to wear high heels has caused a number of controversies around the world in recent years. In April, budget airline Norwegian Air made headlines after new dress code regulations were introduced that required female cabin crew to wear heeled shoes.

In the UK and Canada, similar petitions have been set up against heels in the workplace.

Published: June 4, 2019 12:57 PM

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