#SleevelessFriday: Congresswomen Protest Outdated Dress Code

In between votes on Friday, Representative Jackie Speier led a protest demanding that women on Capitol Hill finally be given the right to bare arms.

The California Democrat took to Twitter to call for her female colleagues to wear sleeveless dresses and tops for “Sleeveless Friday,” after a reporter was kicked out of the House chamber last week for wearing an outfit that showed her arms.

Lawmakers are required to wear “appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House,” and the rules have been extended to reporters covering Capitol Hill. Despite the loosening of dress codes in many American workplaces in recent decades, especially during summer months, sleeveless outfits have been off-limits for women in Congress.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) participated in Speier’s protest and tweeted her own photo, while several other congresswomen expressed their support.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) supported the effort and tweeted at Paul Ryan, who as the House Speaker has the power to enforce and change the decades-old House dress code. In a press conference Thursday, Ryan said members, staffers, and congressional reporters should “look for a change on [the dress code] soon.”

Rep. Speier noted that some male lawmakers were also supportive of the demonstration.

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