The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Thursday that female missionaries will now be allowed to wear pants if they choose.
Previously, all sister missionaries were required to wear skirts, except in some countries. Effective immediately, they may wear dress slacks while on missions.
“Sister missionaries in roughly half of the church’s missions have previously been wearing dress slacks during the wet seasons to help protect them from mosquito-borne viral diseases such as dengue fever, Chikungunya and Zika,” according to a church press release.
The church also noted that wearing pants could be helpful for female missionaries who work in cold climates and who must ride a bicycle. Young men, ages 18 to 25, serve on church missions for two years, while young women, ages 19 to 39, serve for 18 months. Senior missionaries generally serve from six months up to two years.
“Adjustments to the missionary dress and grooming standards have changed over time since the beginning of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in 1830 and will continue to do so in the future,” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Missionary Executive Council, said in a news release. “As we adapt these standards, we always carefully consider the dignity of the missionary calling to represent Jesus Christ; the safety, security and health of our beloved missionaries; and the cultural sensitivities of the places where they serve.”