'Ban' on women wearing glasses at work sparks sexism debate in Japan

Rebecca Speare-Cole
Michelle Ding/Unsplash

A fierce debate has been sparked after it emerged firms in Japan have reportedly been banning women from wearing glasses in the workplace, Business Insider reported.

Local news outlets said several companies have "banned" eyewear for female employees in different industries, although it is unclear how formal these measures were in terms of company policy.

These included safety reasons for airline workers or customers being unable to see female employees' make-up in the beauty sector.

Now a heated discussion is raging on Japanese social media about how women should dress in the workplace.

Many users have been circulating the hashtag "glasses are forbidden" as the topic continued to draw attention in tweets on Friday.

Kumiko Nemoto, professor of sociology at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, told the BBC that people in Japan were reacting to the "outdated" policies.

She said: "The reasons why women are not supposed to wear glasses... really don't make sense. It's all about gender. It's pretty discriminatory.

"It's not about how women do their work. The company... values the women's appearance as being feminine and that's opposite to someone who wears glasses."

The discussion is reminiscent of a recent workplace controversy in Japan over high heels.

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