Speaker of the House Paul Ryan didn’t make the dress code rule, but he said he’s going to work on changing it.
The Speaker’s lobby dress code didn’t allow women to wear sleeveless attire or open-toed shoes and barred men from entering without jackets and ties. The lobby is right outside the full House chamber and is frequently used by reporters to ask House members for comment.
If people don’t meet the dress code requirements they can be prevented from entering the lobby. A CBS report prompted widespread criticism of the policy as sexist.
“These rules are far from clear cut and there are no visible signs defining them,” the report said. “They are also not enforced on the Senate side of the Capitol.”
Ryan said Thursday that he was speaking to the Sergeant of Arms to modernize the dress code.
“This is nothing new and certainly not something that I devised,” Ryan said on the House floor. “At the same time, that doesn’t mean that enforcement couldn’t stand to be a bit modernized. So that is why we will be working with the Sergeant of Arms to ensure the enforcement of appropriate business attire is updated.”
Ryan said to expect the updates “soon.”
Many called the dress code sexist, and some compared women not being able to show their shoulders to the Taliban requiring women to cover themselves from head to toe.