February 07, 2019
*-- SOTU: Female Democrats wear white in solidarity with suffragettes --*
Female Democrats dressed in white for President Donald Trump's State of the Union Tuesday to remind him, and his administration, that women will not relinquish their rights their ancestors fought for.
During a press conference hours before the president was to give his speech, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich, dressed in white, said that women were encouraged to wear white by the House Democratic Women's Working Group in solidarity with women everywhere and as a reminder to the president that the fight is not over.
"This White House administration has tried to close these doors on women, but we will not be locked out. To an administration that has closed its eyes to women, we will be seen. To an administration that has refused to listen to us, we will be heard," she said in the media conference broadcasted on Facebook.
During the conference, the working group said that women have come a long way but with only 25 percent of decision-makers being female when they account for 50 percent of the country they still have more work to do.
"We will not stop fighting," she said. "We have no plans to stop now."
The tradition of Democrats wearing white goes back a 100 years when the shade was chosen as a symbol of the suffragettes who were fighting for women's right to vote.
"The white really harkens back to the day of the suffragists," Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla, and chair of the working group told Roll Call. "I know there's a debate about whether the suffragists really wore white, but I think historically and symbolically, white is associated with the suffragette movement."
Prior to the president's speech, Rep. Val Demings tweeted pictures of Democrats wearing all white.
"Nearly 100 years after women earned the right to vote, more than 100 women are serving in Congress. Tonight the @HouseDemWomen are wearing suffragette white to remind the president that we-and the rights our ancestors fought for-aren't going anywhere," Demings said.
Wearing white was also used to promote the working group's agenda, which includes equal pay for equal work, combating sexual assault and harassment and improving women's health care, among other issues, Frankel said during the conference.
The group also wore white to Trump's in 2017 joint address to Congress.