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Missouri Democrats say new House dress code is sexist for 'micromanaging what women wear'

Missouri House adopts stricter dress code for female lawmakers
Jeff Roberson
Missouri House adopts stricter dress code for female lawmakers

After a long debate at the Missouri House, women lawmakers will face a tougher dress code when they return to the floor. But Democrats criticized Republicans for spending time restricting women's clothing.

At the beginning of their legislative session, the Missouri House tightened its dress code to restrict women’s clothing options.

Republican Rep. Ann Kelley proposed that women wear jackets, saying it was necessary to ensure decorum and mirror the men's dress code.

While the amended rule change now allows for cardigans, women are still required to cover their arms.

The rule change drew criticism for being sexist — the only changes were ones that affect female lawmakers — and for drawing time away from other House priorities.

Democratic Rep. Ashley Aune, who represents the 14th District in Platte County, spoke out against the dress code during the House debate. "Do you know what it feels like to have a bunch of men in this room, looking at your top, trying to decide whether it's appropriate or not?" Aune said.

"You know, we are a professional body and that should should include professional dress," Aune told KCUR's Up To Date. "But I think that micromanaging what women wear in the legislature is absolutely ridiculous. I couldn't agree more with that."

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