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The Women Of Congress Just Gave An Incredible Response To Paul Ryan’s Sexist Dress Code



Last week, people were appalled to learn that a female reporter had been barred from entering the Speaker’s Lobby due to her sleeveless dress. It’s been reported that the unidentified female report went so far as to create makeshift sleeves using notebook paper, but the House sergeant at arms continued to deny her access.

Scores of people on both sides of the aisle were quick to call the incident “sexist.”

The rules of Congressional decorum were designed by and for men more than two centuries ago. In 1992, which was dubbed “The Year Of The Woman” after a record four women were elected to the U.S. Senate, women were prohibited from wearing pants on the Senate Floor. The Democratic Congress, understanding the absurdity of the rule, changed the dress code the following year.

The procedural terms are up for interpretation. For the U.S. House of Representatives, it requires that members “dress appropriately.” Male members to wear a “traditional coat and tie;” however, female House members are only asked to wear “appropriate attire.” In the absence of anything more specific, this has evolved to mean refraining from wearing sneakers, open-toed shoes, and anything sleeveless.

As a play on words, the dress code reform campaign has been dubbed “right to bare arms.”

So on Friday, more than two dozen Democratic women in the House of Representatives showed up at the Capitol in sleeveless, business-appropriate outfits, sending Speaker Ryan a clear message that the sexist dress code will not be tolerated.

In response to the vague dress code, a Republican congresswoman Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) who was accepting the Southern Arizona Congressional First Responder Distinction Award, “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. With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back.”





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