A Japanese department store is under fire for making its female employees wear 'Period Badges'. The badges are meant to let the people know they are on their period. The badge features a cartoon character called Seiri Chan - known for being a symbol of women's menstrual health in Japan.
The Michi Kake Store in Osaka in Japan is known for selling products that are related to female sexual and menstrual health. Reportedly the staffs working there has been asked to wear a badge with a little cartoon called Seiri Chan - a name loosely translated as Miss Period. The badges are not compulsory and were started by executives to help staff and customers to bond over a topic that still has a lot of stigma around it.
A company executive then stated that the plan had received many complaints from the public and that some of the complaints even concerned harassment and that was definitely not the company's intention. The same unnamed executive said that the company never had any plans on making the badges compulsory and that the company was re-thinking the badge idea.
The massive public backlash to the company's period badges comes at a time when Japan's workforce is shrinking and the attitudes towards women within the workplace are also changing. Japanese companies in the past have also been criticised for gender discrimination.
The store Michi Kake is divided into four zones and corresponds to four different sections of the menstrual cycle. There are also products for those who have yet to experience their period and also for women that have begun their menstruation. The workplace has long been a tough place for Japanese women, the Japanese nation often lacks behind other developed nations in terms of gender equality. Female workers are often exposed to deeply traditional gender expectations. Only this month a Japanese employer had come under fire for banning female employees from wearing glasses to work. Earlier this year, more than 21,000 people also signed a high profile online petition calling for Japanese companies to stop forcing female staff to wear high heels to work.