One Sunday in December of 2012, Latter-day Saint women across the world wore pants to LDS Church services to make a statement about gender inequality. However, the church doesn’t have a policy about what women wear to church and women do wear pants to church, says women interviewed.
“The New York Times” stated in an article that “‘Wear Pants to Church,’ an event on Sunday, was meant to draw attention to the role of women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, using attire as a symbolic first salvo in a larger struggle over gender inequalities.”
While most members of the church avoided the event, others embraced it. The Salt Lake Tribune described the experience of young single adult, Julia Shumway who participated in the event. “Shumway wore fashionable black pants and dress shoes to her singles ward on a street near downtown Salt Lake City. She was the lone female not to wear a skirt or dress. ‘Hopeful,’ Shumway said of how she felt taking the pants plunge. ‘I felt exactly as welcomed at church as I do every other Sunday.’”
Tatum Frampton, an undeclared freshman at BYU in Provo from Utah, said about the protest, “The whole thing was unnecessary and it seems that some missed the entire message of the gospel and focused on material things instead.”
“The New York Times” article says the church has no official dress policy requiring women to not wear pants for Sunday meetings. “I think we wear dresses because of tradition and respect more than trying to oppress women,” said Frampton.
Bethany Brown, a freshman and English major from Alaska, said, “I don’t think people realize that [female] members wear pants to church a lot, especially if that’s all that they have. There were a lot of women on my mission who came to church in pants and investigators as well. That was all that they had. I think it’s about just showing our love and respect for the Lord.”
“I personally haven’t felt oppressed by wearing dresses to church, but on the other hand, I can understand that some women have and that that was a way that they could take a stand. Once I realized that the ordinances of salvation are the same for both genders, I kind of stepped back from my slightly more feminist views,” said Brown.