Japanese women told to “empower” themselves by wearing high heels more often

Standing on your own two heels - A grayscale picture of two high heels with a woman standing in them.The Japan High Heel Association (JHA) has called for women to swap flat shoes for high heels to help “empower” them.

The all-female organisation charges 400,000 yen (£3,000) for a six-month series of “walking etiquette classes”. So far 4,000 Japanese women have taken the course.

This is not the only high heel school which has open across the country, which are springing up to give women “confidence” in addition to a poised posture.

“Madame” Yumiko, the managing director of Tokyo-based JHA, has been reported as insisting that encouraging women to wear heels would help “Japanese women become more confident.”

She reportedly said: “Many women are too shy to express themselves. In Japanese culture, women are not expected to stand out or put themselves first.”

According to Madame Yumiko, a former ballerina, wearing high heels would not only liberate them mentally but also help correct bad posture, which stemmed from a legacy of wearing kimonos.

Last October Japanese businesses failed to take up the government’s offer of cash incentive to promote women into management roles, after it was revealed that the 120 million Yen (£660,000) subsidy has remained untouched.

In April 2014 the fund was earmarked to enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to apply for a 300,000 Yen (£1,600) payment per company and larger companies to be eligible for 150,000 Yen each. The plan was to distribute the money to about 400 companies.

The call for women to wear heels in Japan is a different story from the recent UK news, which saw a campaign to make it illegal for companies to require women to wear high heels at work. The campaign hit 100,000 signatures, after a debate over work wear sparked questions about women’s rights and was debated in the Houses of Parliament for discussion.

Nicola Thorp launched the petition after she was reportedly sent home from a job at accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) , where she was employed by the temp agency Portico.

It was reported that receptionist Thorp was sent home from work after refusing to wear high heels for her nine hour shifts. Portico recruited the reception staff for PwC and Thorp claims to have been sent home without pay.

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