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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 4 - 10  > Abe in response to Koike: Imposition on women workers to wear high-heeled shoes is unacceptable
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2020 March 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Abe in response to Koike: Imposition on women workers to wear high-heeled shoes is unacceptable

March 4, 2020

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on March 3 at a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting said that the imposition of discriminatory work rules, such as the requirement to wear high-heeled shoes, on female workers is unacceptable.

He made this remark in response to a question from Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira.

At the Upper House committee meeting, Koike asked about the government efforts to realize gender equality in the workplace. In this regard, he appealed for the need to eradicate workplace violence and harassment and cited the “#Ku Too” campaign against sexist workplace dress codes forcing women workers to wear high heels.

Koike pointed out that the “#Ku Too” campaign has been gaining more and more public support as shown by the fact that the campaign collected more than 32,000 signatures online. He said, “Mr. Prime Minister, have you heard of this campaign? Workplace requirements for women workers to wear high heels constitute sexual discrimination, don’t you think so?”

In response, while falling short of agreeing with Koike, PM Abe said, “Regarding workplace dress codes, it is unacceptable to impose on female workers rules which are unreasonable and painful to them.”

Koike referred to the British government’s guidance on dress codes and sex discrimination which was published in 2018. It stipulates that it is best to avoid gender specific prescriptive requirements, for example the requirement to wear high heels. The JCP lawmaker also referred to an ILO convention obliging member nations to establish legislation banning gender harassment and discrimination.

Koike said that in eliminating the wage gap based on sex and sexist workplace dress codes, it is important for the government to demonstrate initiative.

PM Abe replied that the government will work to implement relevant laws and ordinances in order to ensure gender equality in every workplace.

Past related articles:
> Gender activist: Gov’t anti-workplace harassment guidelines should include sexist dress codes [December 4, 2019]
> Goodbye to required wearing of high-heeled shoes [June 12, 2019]
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