The panel of this year’s Women-20 Summit Berlin consisted of Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde and, surprisingly, Ivanka Trump. Her presence drew sharp criticism from not only the public, but also from politicians. Read our international editor Shambhavi Chouhan’s story on Ivanka Trump and her impact on feminism.
The panel of this year’s Women-20 Summit Berlin consisted of Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde and, surprisingly, Ivanka Trump, which drew sharp criticism. German Social Democrat politician Lars Klingbeil tweeted: “Am I the only one who thinks it utterly absurd that the chancellor is now doing foreign policy with the daughter of Donald Trump?”
Miriam Meckel — the moderator of the debate — questioned if Donald Trump believed in the empowerment of women as his history proved quite the contrary. Ivanka Trump was quick to reply that she had heard this criticism from media before but she “grew up in a house with no barriers.” This answer tested the patience of an already exasperated audience who met this with loud jeers and hisses. Her simple response suggests numerous things, to begin with Ivanka is a smart diplomat representing her father’s business interests and is as unapologetic about his actions as him. Moreover, she demonstrates her privilege as a handicap and carefully avoids to acknowledge that growing up in a wealthy house with every opportunity at her disposal does not forgive Trump’s shameful behaviour towards women.
Last night, Matt Frei, from Channel 4, declared to his viewers that she’s his best weapon.
He explained: she’s beautiful, rational, and a ‘champion’ of women and LGBT rights, thereby relaxing Donald Trump’s scathing demeanour. Meanwhile, a famous clip is going viral on social media, where when asked about their (Donald and Ivanka’s) similarities, she replies “real estate and golf”. Donald Trump quickly follows up: “Well, I was going to say sex, if Ivanka weren’t my daughter I’d be dating her.”
The self-declared feminist, Ivanka, then giggles.
Nepotism or experience?
The image of Ivanka Trump captivated the interest of the American voters who voted in favour of Donald due to her. Her ability to balance board meetings as well as her babies while striving hard was portrayed as the classic American dream. The hazard for us is this carefully constructed image sold quite successfully. Maybe too successfully.
Realization is dawning on these very voters now: this dream was built on an empire of privilege and immense wealth. Recently, she and Jared Kushner (her husband) earned a place in the West Wing of the White House. Her growth trajectory is remarkable, she started off as a model as her mother (Ivana). Then went on to serve as the Vice President of The Trump Organization/ board room member of the reality TV show Apprentice and now holds an undisclosed job at the White House.
Many experts have raised their concerns about the unethical nature of this job designation and when she said she’s “certainly quite unfamiliar” with her new role, she means she’s unqualified. She has experience in running a profitable business or reality show though not formulating public policy. The evidence for the above was demonstrated when in a recent New York Times interview, she struggled with understanding the vast problem prevailing with gender pay gap for American women.
Maybe having Kim Kardashian as the first lady soon is not a ludicrous dream after all.
Ivanka’s brand of feminism
So, what is Ivanka’s brand of feminism?
After she said she was unaware about the meaning of the word ‘complicit’, we want to help her find the meaning. It is defined as being involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong.
Within five months of the Trump regime, the funding for Planned Parenthood is precariously low along with restoration of the global gag rule which prohibits physicians from counseling patients about abortion.
In addition, last week the White House successfully passed a health care bill which pushes out a large number of people out of its scope which includes ailing women. All this has taken place while the rational influence of Ivanka Trump bathed on her father.
Thereby, dear Ivanka, don’t you think it’s time you stopped pretending to be a moderating influence on your father and focus on the understanding the lasting impact of your father’s decision on women and their health.
In the same New York Times interview, she hastily added towards the end, “I’m really, really trying to learn.”
Well we certainly hope so.