Women’s History Month begins today, but last night Democratic women lawmakers kicked things off early.
In a nod to the suffragette movement, dozens of representatives from the House wore white to Trump’s first address to Congress to make a powerful statement about women’s rights.
A noticeable chunk of white in a sea of black and gray, it was a powerful and peaceful way to remind Trump and the rest of Congress that women are here and they are watching. We may not have a woman president but we have dozens of inspiring women in Congress, and they will not remain silent when it comes to rollbacks on women’s hard-earned progress.
Wearing suffragette white became a powerful symbol during last year’s almost feminist election, an election only made possible by the efforts of the women who fought for the vote. Hillary Clinton wore white at pivotal moments, such as when she accepted the Democratic nomination and during the third debate, while on election day the hashtag #wearwhitetovote encouraged women to celebrate the women who had struggled so that they could.
The Democratic Women’s Working Group, who organized the stunt, released a statement, saying "We won't go back." The gesture was intended as a stand "against any attempts by the Trump Administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century." The statement touched upon the continuing fight for affordable healthcare, reproductive rights, equal pay, family leave, and "lives free from fear and violence." That final demand seems especially poignant given the fear and violence the President and many of his inner circle have allegedly inflicted upon individual women’s lives.
The Washington Post noted that a number of Republican women wore purple, the color of bipartisanship, in line with Trump's message of unity. Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, also wore purple under her white blazer. I think she may have found herself regretting that choice as she listened to Trump rail against undocument immigrants, announcing his xenophobic new plan to unfairly spotlight immigrant crime.
Top image via PBS Joint Adress Live Stream, all other images via Twitter and Wikipedia Commons
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