Japanese Women Are Fighting for the Right to Wear Glasses to the Office

Traditional Japanese restaurants said that glasses merely do not go properly with conventional Japanese costume. The hashtag “glasses are forbidden” (#メガネ禁止) has been trending on social media in Japan this week following the airing of a program on the Nippon TV network exploring how corporations in different sectors do not enable female employees to wear glasses on the job. The program adopted a report printed late final month by Business Insider Japan (link in Japanese) on the identical issue.

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The refrain of discontent towards the glasses ban echoes an identical phenomenon in South Korea last 12 months, when a feminine information anchor broke ranks and decided to wear glasses as a substitute of placing on contact lenses for her early morning present. The sight of a lady carrying glasses reading the news not only shocked viewers, but additionally prompted an area airline to evaluate its own insurance policies and permit female cabin crew to wear glasses. The program listed numerous reasons that employers gave for not wanting women to wear glasses while at work. Domestic airways said it was for safety causes, corporations in the beauty trade stated it was troublesome to see the worker’s make-up properly behind glasses, while major retail chains mentioned feminine shop assistants give off a “cold impression” in the event that they wear glasses.

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“If the foundations prohibit only women to put on glasses, this can be a discrimination towards women,” Kanae Doi, the Japan director at Human Rights Watch, informed the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday. In the newest protest towards rigid guidelines over women’s look, the hashtag “glasses are forbidden” was trending on Twitter in reaction to a Japanese television present that exposed companies that have been imposing the bans on feminine employees.

Earlier this yr there was a name for Japanese firms to cease forcing female employees to wear excessive heels. More than 21,000 individuals signed an online petition began by a feminine actor in what has turn out to be often known as the #KuToo motion. Yanfei Zhou, a researcher on the Japan Institute for Labor Policy & Training and author of a book on the topic, “Japan’s Married Stay-at-Home Mothers in Poverty,” contends there’s a spot of 200 million yen ($1.eighty two million) in lifetime revenue between women who work full-time and girls who change from full-time to part-time on the age of 40. More than forty% of part-time working women earn 1 million yen ($9,100) or much less a 12 months, according to Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

With entitlement prices skyrocketing, the government has responded by scaling back benefits while proposing to lift the retirement age. Some Japanese responded by shifting cash out of low-curiosity bank accounts and into 401(k)-type retirement plans, hoping funding gains might soften the blow. But such a strategy requires financial savings, and ladies in Japan are less prone to have any.

But in Japan, the trend is reversed, with part-time work amongst women rising over the past 15 years. But there are further obstacles for Japanese women. Although three.5 million of them have entered the workforce since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in 2012, two-thirds are working only part-time.

‘Don’t Tell Us What To Wear’: Japanese Women Protest Workplace Glasses Ban

But even with these advantages, Japanese women—whether single or married, full-time or half-time—face a difficult monetary future. A confluence of things that include an aging inhabitants, falling birth rates and anachronistic gender dynamics are conspiring to break their prospects for a comfortable retirement. According to Seiichi Inagaki, a professor at the International University of Health and Welfare, the poverty fee for older Japanese women will more than double over the subsequent 40 years, to 25%.

“Comfort women” is a euphemism for the women and girls – a lot of them Korean – pressured into prostitution at Japanese navy brothels. The problem has plagued Japan’s ties with South Korea for decades. The Imperial Japanese Army asked the federal government to supply one “comfort woman” for each 70 soldiers, Japan’s Kyodo information company mentioned, citing wartime authorities paperwork it had reviewed, shedding contemporary gentle on Tokyo’s involvement within the follow. The hashtag #メガネ禁止 (#GlassesBan) was trending on Twitter by Wednesday, with men and women saying they disagreed with the policy.

The shift is tied to the changing Japanese work drive. Close to 70 % of girls ages 15 to 64 now have jobs — a document. But their careers are often held again by a relentless tide of domestic burdens, like filling out the meticulous every day logs required by their children’s day-care facilities, getting ready the intricate meals typically anticipated of Japanese women, supervising and signing off on homework from school and afterschool tutoring periods, or hanging rounds of laundry — as a result of few households have electrical dryers. But for increasingly more Japanese women — who’ve traditionally been circumscribed by their relationships with men, kids and other family members — singlehood represents a form of liberation.

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Today, such outright insults have light as a rising variety of Japanese women are postponing or forgoing marriage, rejecting the normal path that results in what many now regard as a life of domestic drudgery. Not so long ago, Japanese women who remained unmarried after the age of 25 were referred to as “Christmas cake,” a slur evaluating them to old vacation pastries that can not be bought after Dec. 25. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated corporations. All rights reserved.

From obligatory high heels to a ban on glasses, Japanese women have been busy pushing back in opposition to restrictive and anachronistic dress codes in the workplace in 2019. Earlier this yr, Japanese women started voicing their discontent with arcane workplace restrictions on their appears through the #KuToo motion, which drew consideration to the requirement that many companies still have that girls put on excessive heels to work. The time period #KuToo is a triple pun, enjoying on the Japanese words kutsu (sneakers), kutsuu (ache), and the #MeToo motion. The explosion of curiosity in discriminatory therapy against women at the office additionally comes amid a growing rejection of sexist norms in Japanese society because the #MeToo motion began gaining floor since 2018. According to the BBC, several Japanese retailers said firms have “banned” women from carrying eyeglasses and that they offer a “cold impression” to feminine store assistants.

Japanese women on social media are demanding the proper to wear glasses to work, after reviews that employers have been imposing bans. One Twitter consumer posted a screenshot of a news broadcast on the glasses ban, and wrote, “It will result in accidents,” in accordance with a translation. Japan’s consumption-oriented culture additionally signifies that single women with careers and money have a wide range of actions and emotional shops that their moms or grandmothers did not, Ms. Nemoto added. And, notably, Japanese women now not need husbands to make sure their economic safety. Fed up with the double standard, Japanese women are increasingly opting out of marriage altogether, focusing on their work and newfound freedoms, but also alarming politicians preoccupied with trying to reverse Japan’s declining inhabitants.

The lack of advantages, job security and opportunity for advancement—hallmarks of full-time employment in Japan—make such women financially vulnerable, notably if they don’t have a partner to share expenses with. Japanese men typically see their compensation rise until they reach 60. For women, common compensation stays largely the same from their late twenties to their sixties, a truth attributable to pauses in employment tied to having children or half-time, quite than full-time, work. Since the mid-2000s, part-time employment rates have fallen for girls in more than half the nations that make up the OECD.