Over a century ago, the Suffragettes began their campaign for women's right to vote. In 1919, an amendment guaranteeing this right was finally passed by Congress; and now, in 2019, there are more women involved in politics than ever before.
A hundred years on, American female politicians are honouring those who paved the way.
On Tuesday night, as government officials gathered to hear Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union address, women from the Democratic Party were busy making their own statement.
Gathering in the House of Representatives chamber of the United States Capitol building, dozens of female representatives wore white – the colour of the Suffragettes. Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in white blazers, dresses and pantsuits, they created a striking visual contrast against the men in dark suits. Their message was strong: we are here, and we are not going away.
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There are currently 102 women serving in the House of Representatives – a record-breaking number, making up almost 25% of the lower chamber. Chairwoman of the Democratic Women's Working Group Lois Frankel said, “By wearing suffragette white to #SOTU2019, we're sending a message to everyone who voted for Democrats and delivered us the majority that we're working #ForThePeople, promoting the economic security of women and their families!”
By wearing suffragette white to #SOTU2019 tmrw we’re sending a message to everyone that voted for @HouseDemocrats & delivered us the majority that we're working #ForThePeople, promoting the economic security of women & their families! https://t.co/R3jv5YXdlN
— Rep. Lois Frankel (@RepLoisFrankel) February 4, 2019
Similarly, Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester said, "Tonight, I join @HouseDemWomen in wearing suffragette white to the #SOTU. We're standing in solidarity with the women who blazed trails and whose shoulders we stand on. With your help, Congress now looks more like the people it represents."
Tonight, I join @HouseDemWomen in wearing suffragette white to the #SOTU. We're standing in solidarity with the women who blazed trails and whose shoulders we stand on. With your help, Congress now looks more like the people it represents. #WomenLead pic.twitter.com/9DpfdgCGIT
— Rep. Blunt Rochester (@RepLBR) February 6, 2019
Cheers of support
During his speech, President Donald Trump noted the significant increase in female-filled jobs, saying, “No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year.” Upon hearing this, many of the women in white rose to their feet; applauding those around them and cheering for each other’s successes.
Their outburst of joy came as a shock to the 72-year-old president, who (until that point) had said (and done) nothing to please them.
Tonight is yet another reminder that the most powerful leadership in America is not coming from the White House - it’s coming from women. pic.twitter.com/MfisUQl4tp
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) February 6, 2019
Still, the number of women in politics is something to celebrate, and their enthusiasm was contagious; with many of the men around them rising to their feet too, cheering them on.
After the event, women's rights activist Cecile Richards tweeted, "Tonight is yet another reminder that the most powerful leadership in America is not coming from the White House – it’s coming from women."
Watch the clip below:
Top photo via Congresswoman Sharice Davids on Twitter