Japanese women demand right to wear glasses at work

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Public outcry after TV show exposes businesses imposing ban on female staff

Reuters

The backlash follows a similar one earlier this year against companies making female staff wear high heels. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Japanese women on social media are demanding the right to wear glasses to work, after reports that employers were imposing bans.

In the latest protest against rigid rules over women’s appearance, the hashtag “glasses are forbidden” was trending on Twitter in reaction to a Japanese television show that exposed businesses that were imposing the bans on female staff.

“These are rules that are out of date,” one Twitter user said, while another described the reasons given by employers as “idiotic”.

One woman who works in restaurants tweeted that she was repeatedly told not to wear her glasses because it would appear “rude” and they did not go with her traditional kimono.

“If the rules prohibit only women to wear glasses, this is a discrimination against women,” Kanae Doi, the Japan director at Human Rights Watch, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday.

Earlier this year there was a call for Japanese companies to stop forcing female staff to wear high heels. More than 21,000 people signed an online petition started by a female actor in what has become known as the #KuToo movement.

In response, a Japanese minister said dress code expectations were “necessary and appropriate” in the workplace.

Japan was ranked 110 out of 149 countries in the World Economic Forum’s latest global gender gap report, well behind other developed countries.

 

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