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Japan Airlines flight attendants arrive at San Francisco International Airport on March 13. Photo: REUTERS/Kate Munsch
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JAL to let female crew ditch high heels after #KuToo campaign

29 Comments

Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines will be allowed to wear pants and abandon high heels next month, the company said on Thursday, after a feminist campaign took off.

The airline becomes one of the first major Japanese firms to announce the shift after a campaign known as #KuToo last year called to reject mandatory high heels at work, drawing more than 32,000 signatures in an online petition.

The campaign is part of a wider feminism movement in socially conservative Japan, with Japan Airlines saying the new policy was aimed at boosting a "diverse working environment".

"This will be the first time to introduce trousers and to provide additional options for footwear," spokesman Mark Morimoto told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The change - to take effect in April - will allow nearly 6,000 female crew members to choose footwear that "best fits their needs", with or without heels, the airline said.

The #KuToo campaign has highlighted the rigid beauty standards on women in Japan, ranked 121 out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum's latest Global Gender Gap index.

The hashtag is a play on the Japanese words for shoe - kutsu - and pain - kutsu.

It was started by actress and activist Yumi Ishikawa who took to Twitter about being forced to wear high heels for a part-time job at a funeral parlor.

"It's a great step given that Japan Airlines is such a big company," Ishikawa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, saying firms should prioritize women's health and safety.

"It's not only airlines - there are also hotels, department stores, banks and a lot of other companies with this requirement. I hope they follow this example."

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this month women should not suffer from dress code requirements, according to local media, although a minister previously said they were "necessary and appropriate" in the workplace.

In another social media outcry, Japanese women took to Twitter to demand the right to wear glasses to work in November, after reports employers were imposing bans.

© Thomson Reuters Foundation

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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although a minister previously said they were "necessary and appropriate" in the workplace

How is a dress and high heels necessary? Necessary for what? Eye candy?

12 ( +23 / -11 )

They are there to help passengers with safety, to serve food, help with baggage, etc. They are not there to help straight men's eyes. A very sensible decision.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

These changes implemented only after a campaign was started.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

These changes implemented only after a campaign was started.

Yeah, that's what it says:

"Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines will be allowed to wear pants and abandon high heels next month, the company said on Thursday, after a feminist campaign took off."

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Great. Next they can campaign to get rid of leather shoes and suits for professionals because they are constricting, any kind of uniform for stores, restaurants, hotels, or anywhere because they are morally demeaning, and fatigues, camo, boots, for military unless they are deployed directly into the field. Then everyone can wear hoodies, burlap sacks, and t-shirts regardless of whatever business you created that gave them the opportunity for a job. Or... maybe they can create their own business and decide what people wear if they want to get paid by them to represent their company.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Geez damm it going to have to ask my wife to throw those high heels on again and get back into that mini skirt she looks so hot in..Shame on you JAL hostesses for taking away our eye candy.

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

More nonsense from "woke" culture.

There are far more important things to worry about that uniform requirements. Don't like having to wear high heels? Work somewhere else.

-15 ( +5 / -20 )

Midnight Sun TribeToday 07:46 am JST

Great. Next they can campaign to get rid of leather shoes and suits for professionals because they are constricting, any kind of uniform for stores, restaurants, hotels, or anywhere because they are morally demeaning, and fatigues, camo, boots, for military unless they are deployed directly into the field. Then everyone can wear hoodies, burlap sacks, and t-shirts regardless of whatever business you created that gave them the opportunity for a job. Or... maybe they can create their own business and decide what people wear if they want to get paid by them to represent their company.

I know, right??? Next thing you know suits and leather shoes will be illegal, all because of SJWs. They always take things way too far!

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Who would wear high heels in the worlds most earthquake prone country? OH forgot, the new report on Women's Right rates Japan near the bottom...

10 ( +11 / -1 )

After seeing some of the bulges on Japanese womens feet due to wearing heels.. Yes no more heels please!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Wearing them all day and in a plane and in your feet, I definitely can imagine it’s tiring. I love the visual eye candy, who doesn’t, but I can sympathize with women so I think it’s a good thing I’d they can ditch the heels.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Good news.

JAL being JAL, I wouldn't be surprised if their response is to stop employing women below a certain height. The shoes in the photo are not "sexy" in themselves and simply make the wearer look taller.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yeah, they might change the height requirement, I could see that happening, I don’t think it’s far fetched.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In another social media outcry, Japanese women took to Twitter to demand the right to wear glasses to work in November, after reports employers were imposing bans.

What? Employers are imposing bans on wearing glasses? So they want them to not be able to see? I don't see any need for high heels for women or suits and ties for men, but glasses are essential for many people. Is this real, or did Japan Today take a line from The Rising Wasabi?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Great news! It's about time. Good job, Japanese stewardesses. The most caring and charming flight crews on earth...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Giving them the choice is good, but I wonder how many will actually keep wearing them... There is a fair amount of research showing positive effects for supposed 'beautification', e.g.

https://www.cogentoa.com/article/10.1080/23311908.2017.1327635

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Giving them the choice is good, but I wonder how many will actually keep wearing them... There is a fair amount of research showing positive effects for supposed 'beautification', e.g.

When you look good you feel good.

When you look unkempt, you feel sluggish and are even at a higher risk for depression. You don't fell put together and your brain reacts to that.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Next, maybe both JAL and ANA can get rid of the oversized neck scarf that they make staff wear. Flight attendant friends say it is both uncomfortable and gets in the way at work.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

after a feminist campaign took off.

after a *common-sense** *campaign took off.

(There. I fixed that for you.)

6 ( +9 / -3 )

What the hell? Who came up with this stupid idea for air hostesses to stop wearing heels? I am appalled? They need to stop these stupid movements.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I approve of this move.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good. All companies should do the same. Heels are not only damaging to the wearer, but can be a safety hazard. No worker should be forced to wear them. Black slacks and flat black business shoes are just as professional.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Midnight Sun TribeToday 07:46 am JST

Great. Next they can campaign to get rid of leather shoes and suits for professionals because they are constricting, any kind of uniform for stores, restaurants, hotels, or anywhere because they are morally demeaning, and fatigues, camo, boots, for military unless they are deployed directly into the field. Then everyone can wear hoodies, burlap sacks, and t-shirts regardless of whatever business you created that gave them the opportunity for a job. Or... maybe they can create their own business and decide what people wear if they want to get paid by them to represent their company.

What's wrong with everyone being allowed to wear the most comfortable clothing available?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Great that JAL has made this move, but if things keep going the way they are there might not be any flights left for the new, more comfortable flight crew to work in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This seems to be a bit of a non-sequitur since flight attendants can't wear high-heeled (which for me means the stiletto type) shoes because a) you can't make a hasty evacuation wearing such shoes, and b) there is a risk that they will puncture the inflatable slides.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good. Most sensible airlines have long since ditched this antiquated dress code requirement for a couple of reasons:

1) Health and safety. Planes are cramped and move, jolt, shudder and ankle injuries must be a significant issue. Lifting heavy cases into overhead lockers in heels would be an issue too.

2) Aircraft evacuations also mandate removing heels to prevent damaging the slides, and/or injuring those below.

3) In an international flight, some staff may walk as far as 6-10 km inside the aircraft alone, down and back aisles and up and down stairs. Why on earth would you force them to wear shoes that inhibit their free movement.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good news.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Regarding their height, it would be OK as long as attendants are tall enough to reach out to overhead lockers. If not, there might be some difficulties in dealing with luggage.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great. Next they can campaign to get rid of leather shoes and suits for professionals because they are constricting, any kind of uniform for stores, restaurants, hotels, or anywhere because they are morally demeaning, and fatigues, camo, boots, for military unless they are deployed directly into the field. Then everyone can wear hoodies, burlap sacks, and t-shirts regardless of whatever business you created that gave them the opportunity for a job. 

This but unironically.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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