Japanese women fight for right to wear glasses to work
By Beh Lih Yi
KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Japanese women have taken to Twitter to demand the right to wear glasses to work after reports employers were imposing bans, in the latest social media outcry against rigid rules on women’s appearance.
The hashtag “glasses are forbidden” has been trending after a Japanese television show exposed businesses that were imposing bans on female staff.
“These are rules that are out of date,” one Twitter user posted under the hashtag, while another called the reasons given by employers “idiotic”.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 the traditional kimono she wore.
The tweet, posted under the handle @wine_kimono last month, has since been shared nearly 13,000 times.
“If the rules prohibit only women to wear glasses, this is a discrimination against women,” Kanae Doi, the Japan director at global advocacy group Human Rights Watch, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday.
The latest outcry came after a campaign earlier this year that demanded Japanese companies stop forcing their female staff to wear high heels to work.
More than 21,000 people signed an online petition started by a Japanese actress earlier this year that called for a ban on compulsory high heels at work, in what has been 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.
(Reporting by Beh Lih Yi @behlihyi; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)