On Friday, more than 30 congresswomen on the two sides of the passageway wore sleeveless dresses to help their “right to bare arms.”
The officials were dissenting the dress code in the Speaker’s Lobby, a room bordering the House chamber where lawmakers assemble amongst votes and where journalists direct meetings. The clothing standard for the room has required women — reporters and lawmakers – to wear dresses and blouses with sleeves if they need to enter. The rule also requires men to wear jackets and ties.
“The rules are kind of archaic — if we just went by tradition in this chamber, then we wouldn’t have a women’s bathroom off the floor,” California Democrat Linda Sanchez stated, alluding to the absence of a ladies’ restroom off the floor until recent years.
A current CBS news report about the uneven adherence to the clothing regulation and the tale of an unnamed young, female reporter barred from the room because her dress did not have sleeves commenced an online level headed discussion, especially among journalists.
On Wednesday, Rep. Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican, made reference to the strict clothing regulation in the Speaker’s Lobby toward the finish of comments on the House floor about specialists on call in her state.
“Before I yield back, I want to point out I’m standing here in my professional attire, which happens to be a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes,” McSally said on the House floor. “With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back.”
McSally’s remarks helped start Friday’s bipartisan reaction, which California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier promoted among the Democratic caucus.
New York Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice utilized the “sleeveless Friday” challenge to put forth her defense for more participation between female Democrats and Republicans in the House.
“Any issue like this that can bring people together I think is a good opportunity to remind us that we are here to work together and there’s more that unites us than divides us,” said Rice. “Women are such problem-solvers — not that men aren’t, but women just have such a different sensibility.”
On Thursday, Speaker Paul Ryan’s office reacted to the discussion by concurring that the clothing standard “could stand to be a bit modernized.” Ryan said to “look for a change on that soon.” In a tweet, Ryan’s national press secretary AshLee Strong urged members to “focus on substantive issues” in the wake of indicating Ryan’s declaration about a forthcoming policy change. Ryan didn’t particularly detail what might change about the dress. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi commended Ryan’s declaration about changing the rule.
“Glad to see @SpeakerRyan is updating the dress code for the House Floor. These unwritten rules are in desperate need of updates,” she tweeted Thursday.