During President Trump’s first joint address to Congress, a group of democratic female Representatives wore “suffragette white” to shine the spotlight on issues related to women, including #equalpay. Congresswoman Katherine Clark from Massachusetts, who participated in the unified message, posted on her twitter account, “We’re wearing suffragette white at #JointSession as a pledge to fight for women’s #reprorights, #equalpay, #paidleave & more #WomenWearWhite.” Florida Representative Lois Frankel, Chair of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group, released a statement saying, “We wear white to unite against any attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century.” The Women’s Working Group’s commitment to women’s rights includes standing for “equal pay for equal work.”
The choice to wear “suffragette white” pays homage to the women who fought for equal voting rights in the early 1900s. These pioneers of women’s rights wore white to symbolize traditional societal notions of female purity as well as to set forth the unified message of their movement. Since then, suffragette white has been emblematically sported by many, including women fighting for the 1978 Equal Rights Amendment and by Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.
President Trump has not yet announced how his administration will address #payequity. Since the new administration has taken office, the White House Equal Pay Pledge has been removed from the official White House website. However, this is in contrast to statements made during the campaign suggesting a Trump administration would support equal pay initiatives. Regardless of President Trump’s stance, these Representatives have shown that they will continue to fight for equal pay. Democrats have yet to propose new federal legislation on equal pay under the new administration.
This post was authored by Julia Arcese.