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Slovakia’s president shuts down reporter questioning her outfit changes

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On June 15, Zuzana Caputova was sworn in as Slovakia's first female president – Jun 27, 2019

Slovakia‘s first female president was asked about her multiple outfit changes in one day during an official meeting with European leaders — a question some are calling sexist.

At a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Zuzana Čaputová was asked by a journalist if she was feeling “nervous” or “stressed” because she had changed her dress three times that day.

“Was this meeting difficult, stressful?” the journalist continued.

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Čaputová, who was talking to media alongside the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, clarified that she had only changed twice.

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“This is only the second dress that I’m wearing today,” Čaputová said.

“So, how do I feel? Well honestly, my teeth ache and I’m hot. I’ve had a very interesting day, a very intense day. I’ve had very interesting meetings with the leaders of different European institutions I hadn’t met before so I feel very happy and very lucky.”

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When it came time for Juncker to speak, the politician said, unprompted: “Just for the record, this is the third shirt I’m wearing today.”

People on social media pointed out that asking Čaputová about her dresses was sexist, especially since Juncker was not asked about his outfit changes.

“Čaputová handled this inane question beautifully, as did Juncker,” one person tweeted. “We have to get to a time where this kind of ‘innocent-seeming’ question no longer happens because we have finally achieved equality.”

“I’m glad Juncker realized how misogynistic the question was,” tweeted another.

After the conference, the president tweeted that Slovakia’s future is “strong” and united with the European Union and that she appreciated Juncker’s warm meeting.

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Čaputová was in Brussels on her second official trip as president after taking office in June. Aside from Juncker, she met with King Philippe of Belgium and the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

As Slovakia’s first female leader, Čaputová told the Guardian she hopes to inspire other women in the country to enter politics.

She told the outlet that during her campaign she faced sexism, including a few people telling her it was “not proper manners” for a woman to run for president.

Laura.Hensley@globalnews.ca

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