US congresswomen demonstrated the strict dress code in the House of Representatives that prevents them from wearing sleeveless dresses and blouses. A CBS News story of a reporter who was kicked out of the Speaker’s lobby sparked the debate.

Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Yesterday (Friday), over 30 US congresswomen from both sides of the political map wore sleeveless shirts and dresses in support of women’s rights to “bare arms” for Sleeveless Friday.

The congresswomen demonstrated the dress code of the Speaker’s lobby, the room next to main chamber of the House of Representatives and the place where congress members often meet with reporters. The strict dress code requires women, reporters and legislators, to wear dresses and blouses that cover their shoulders. Men are required to wear a jacket and tie.

A CBS News story regarding a female reporter who was kicked out of the Speaker’s lobby for her dress sparked a heated online debate on the issue. On Wednesday, Republican member of the House of Representatives Martha McSally addressed the affair during the speech: “I want to point out I’m standing here in my professional attire, which happens to be a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes.”

Following the demonstration, House Speaker Paul Ryan promised to “modernize” the dress code: “We will be working with the Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure the enforcement of appropriate business attire is updated.”