699 Japan ‘glasses ban’ for women at work sparks backlash

Speech Materals

Wearing glasses at work has become an emotive topic in Japan following reports that some firms have told female employees to remove them.

Several local news outlets said some companies had “banned” eyewear for female employees for various reasons.

Among them, some retail chains reportedly said glasses-wearing shop assistants gave a “cold impression”.

That has sparked heated discussion on Japanese social media over dress practices and women in the workplace.

The Nippon TV network and Business Insider were among the outlets to report on the issue, which looked at how firms in different industries prohibit women from wearing glasses.

They included safety reasons for airline workers, or being unable to see make-up properly for women working in the beauty sector.

It was not clear whether the so-called “bans” were based on company policies, or rather reflected what was socially accepted practice in those workplaces.

But the topic has led to heated debates on social media.

The hashtag “glasses are forbidden” has been popular in Japan and the topic continued to attract tweets on Friday.

I – Word Understanding
Backlash – a strong negative reaction (against something)
Emotive – causing strong emotions in support or against something
Prohibit – don’t allow

II – Have Your Say
1. What do you think about women wearing glasses at work? Do you think it can interfere with women’s work performance? How about men wearing glasses?
2. Another issue that came to light recently is the strict dress code for women specifically requiring them to wear high heels. What is your company’s dress code (for both men and women)? What would you like to change in your dress code?
3. What do you think about social media being the medium in bringing issues like these to people’s attention? What other issues do you wish people would talk about and what do you want the government do about it?

699 Japan ‘glasses ban’ for women at work sparks backlash

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