Women in Japan are asking that the government ban employers from discriminating against women who don’t wear high heels to job interviews or work. The movement was started by freelance writer and actor Yumi Ishikawa, who submitted a petition with more than 18,000 signatures to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare on Monday, according to BuzzFeed News Japan.
The campaign is called #KuToo, a play on the words kutsu, meaning shoes, and kutsuu, meaning pain, according to the Guardian. Ishikawa was apparently inspired by the #MeToo movement; she went viral back in February after tweeting about a job interview that required her to wear high heels. In response to a question about #MeToo, Ishikawa told the Guardian, “As I realised that so many people face the same problem, I decided to launch the campaign.”
There’s no law that says women must wear high heels to work, but women in Japan say that it is basically a requirement when seeking employment, and compare it to the practice of foot-binding. Ishikawa calls the petition a “first step forward.”
Bans on requiring women to wear high heels to work are not without precedent; in Canada, British Columbia made it illegal in 2017. The women of Japan have spoken, and they too should be able to wear whatever they want to work—sneakers, platform sandals, Crocs, whatever. Let them have this.