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Why Female Democrats Are Wearing White To Trump's State Of The Union Address

Hours before US President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address to Congress, female Democratic representatives gathered together for a photo.

The women -- and a few men -- gathered on the steps of the Capitol Visitors Centre, all wearing white.

"Standing hand in hand with @HouseDemWomen wearing #Suffragette white to #SOTU as we fight," tweeted Representative Lois Frankel.

Inside Congress, the Democratic women were a sea of white in the otherwise sombre room.

The all-white unofficial dress code is, obviously, no accident. Organised by the Democratic Working Women's Group, it's in honour of the suffrage movement, and a nod to the record number of women elected to Congress in last year's midterms.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., attends a group photo of House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Centre. Photo: Getty.

"Nearly 100 years after women earned the right to vote, more than 100 women are serving in Congress," tweeted Val Demings.

"Tonight the @HouseDemWomen are wearing suffragette white to remind the president that we -- and the rights our ancestors fought for -- aren't going anywhere."

This year, new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind Trump as he delivered his address, wearing a white pantsuit and looking, for the most part, less than impressed.

US Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi listen to President Donald Trump deliver the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Photo: Getty.

Pramila Jayapal shared photos of herself with fellow Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Julia Brownley, Katherine Clark, Veronia Escobar, Suzanne Bonamici, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Sylvia Garci, all resplendent in "suffragette white".

Last year, the working group -- led by Frankel -- encouraged its members to wear black, in honour of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

But the colour white has a long history with women in the Democratic party. Hillary Clinton famously wore white when accepting the nomination for president at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, in itself a nod to Geraldine Ferraro's white suit when accepting the first vice presidential nomination to a woman at the 1984 convention.

Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro speaks to the 1984 Democratic Convention and accepts their nomination. Photo: Getty.

The concept is not unique to the United States, either; following last year's leadership spill in Australia, Liberal party women wore red in a show of solidarity.

It followed accusations of bullying made by a number of women against the wider party, including from Ann Sudmalis and former Liberal party member Julia Banks, who joined the crossbench.

READ MORE: Why The Liberal Party Women Wore Red

Kelly O'Dwyer, Nicolle Flint, and Amanda Stoker all joined their female colleagues in wearing red, in what was understood to be a nod to former Deputy Leader Julie Bishop.

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au