State of the Union: women of both parties invited to wear 'suffragette white'

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Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to Congress could be an overwhelmingly white affair, and we’re not just talking about Senate Republicans.

The House Democratic women’s working group is inviting female members of both parties to wear white to the address next week as a symbol of solidarity.

Lois Frankel, the chair of the working group, tweeted to say she was “looking forward to wearing suffragette white” to “honor all those who came before us & send a message of solidarity that we’re not going back on our hard-earned rights!”

The group engaged in a similar move last year, at Trump’s joint address to Congress. That time around they said the sartorial choice was to promote their support for a number of women’s issues, including equal pay and reproductive rights.

During the early 20th century, women were invited to wear white to marches calling for their right to vote and ever since wearing white has been a feminist statement for female politicians.

Shirley Chisholm wore white in 1969 when she became the first African American woman elected to Congress. Hillary Clinton wore white when she was selected as the Democratic nominee for president, and again during the third televised debate.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also wore white when she was sworn into Congress, saying to wanted to “honour the women who paved the path before me, and for all the women yet to come”.

Frankel did not explicitly draw a link between the move and Trump’s record of sexism and sexual harassment but others have: the influential pressure group Democratic Coalition tweeted about the news with the hashtag #GroperInChief.

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