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The important reason women are wearing white to vote for Clinton tomorrow

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Of all the iconic trouser suits worn by Hillary Clinton during this election season, two of the most memorable are the simple white versions she wore for her Democratic convention speech and during October’s third presidential debate.

And now, female Clinton supporters in the States are wearing white to the polls – in honour of the activists who fought for women’s right to vote in the early 20th century.

White was the official colour of the suffragist movement in the 1900s, and was often worn by activists protesting for women’s right to vote. In December 1913, the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage wrote in their mission statement: “White, the emblem of purity, symbolises the quality of our purpose.”

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American suffrage activists wearing matching white parade uniforms, c. 1910-1915.

Michelle Gajda, a college instructor from Tampa, Florida, wore white when she cast her vote for Clinton early last week, and told the Boston Globe that she would be wearing the colour while canvassing right up until the election.


Read more: Why feminism is the real winner in this extraordinary US election


“I wanted to show my children that they are witnessing history,” she said.

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Hillary Clinton wearing a white suit at the Democratic National Convention in July (left) and Geraldine Ferraro wearing a similar outfit at the same event in 1984 (right).

As well as referencing the suffragists (the term “suffragette” usually refers specifically to British and Irish activists), Clinton’s white suit at the Democratic convention was also a sartorial echo of the outfit worn by Geraldine Ferraro at the same event 20 years earlier. Democratic politician Ferraro, who died in 2011, became the first female vice-presidential candidate to represent a major political party in 1984.

Let’s hope that those wearing white have cause to celebrate when the election result is announced on Wednesday. Two days to go…

Images: iStock, Rex, Getty

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