Japanese department store and menstration badges

Sam Meredith

The so-called physiology badge features a cartoon character named Seiri Chan, a symbol of menstration in the world’s third largest economy

It was hoped that the badges would help foster sympathy among co-workers, with these choosing to wear the pin likely to receive extra help or longer breaks.

However, when Daimaru told me the media about the policy earlier this month, it prompted a backlash against the store.

A woman’s health store in Japan is reportedly reviewing a plan for staff to wear badges when they are on their period. The so-called “physiology badge” features a cartoon character named Seiri Chan, and it was hoped that the badges would help foster sympathy among co-workers. “We received many complaints from the public, Some of them concerned harassment, and that was definitely not our intention. We are reconsidering plans now,” a male executive who declined to be named said in a statement, according to the Japan Times.

#KuToo

The badges, which were double-sided, were initially brought in after a suggestion from the firm’s staff and were linked to the opening of a new section of the department store. One one side of the badge was Seiri Chan, a cartoon character reportedly known as “Miss Period,” On the other side were details of a new section being opened in the store devoted to “Women’s wellbeing.”

Outcry against the policy comes with many cases of workplace harassment in the public spotlight in Japan, amid changing values about gender roles and work-life balance. Earlier this month, research carried out by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation found that more than one in 10 companies in Japan have formal regulations about the length of heeled shoes females workers must wear.

Actress and writer Yumi Ishikawa had previously launched a petition for discriminatory workplace dress codes to be scrapped, after being made to wear high heels while working at a funeral parlor.

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