Why Congressional Women Including Nancy Pelosi Are Wearing White at the State of the Union

Female lawmakers made a statement through their clothing tonight as they arrived for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.

To mark the 100-year anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, the Democratic Women’s Caucus in the House organized the effort, which dozens of legislators, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, participated in. The 19th amendment granting women’s suffrage was passed in 1920. White is a shade heavily associated with women’s rights: In demonstrations and parades in the early 20th century, activists would wear white dresses in hopes of getting their photos in the newspapers.

white outfits, congresswomen, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., right, and others wait for President Donald Trump to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in WashingtonState of the Union, Washington, USA - 04 Feb 2020
Congresswomen wear white as they wait for President Trump to arrive for the State of the Union.
CREDIT: J Scott Applewhite/Shutterstock

Some Congresswomen also wore “ERA Yes” buttons endorsing the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would guarantee the equal rights of women and men.

This is not the first time Congressional women have worn white to the State of the Union address. Last year, Democratic legislators arrived for the joint session of Congress wearing the hueIn 2018, they wore all black in solidarity with the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Many women also elected to wear red pins reading “Recy” in 2018, to support Recy Taylor, an Alabama woman who was raped by six white men in the 1940s. 

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In 2017, for President Trump’s first SOTU address, the Congressional women were clad in white, just as they were in 2019 and as they are tonight.

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