A group fighting gender-based workplace discrimination submitted a petition to the labor ministry calling for a ban on dress codes that force women to wear high heels at work.

The petition bearing 18,856 signatures was presented Monday by Yumi Ishikawa, the leader of the group working as part of the #KuToo movement. The petition cites health and other issues.

"This is just the first step," the 32-year-old actress and writer said at a news conference in Tokyo after submitting the petition. "This is a problem that many women believed was a personal issue because (wearing high heels) is generally seen as good etiquette."