A Woman’s Way In

By Kendall Silwonuk

Throughout the Trump campaign, Donald’s daughter Ivanka consistently commented on equal pay and fair treatment for women in the workplace. She is even publishing a book, “Women Who Work”, in May, for which the synopsis reads: “Our grandmothers fought for the right to work. Our mothers fought for the choice to be in an office or stay at home. Our generation is the first to fully embrace and celebrate the fact our lives are multidimensional. Thanks to the women who came before us and paved the way, we can create the lives we want to lead--which looks different for each of us.”

Ivanka Trump is a feminist, in a certain sense, and her views on working women align with a liberal platform. Now, as announced this week, she is taking an office, government-issued communication devices, and classified clearance in the White House. But she is not taking an oath, nor is she taking a salary. What exactly is the first daughter’s new position, and what does it mean for women?

According to Ivanka Trump, “I will continue to offer my father my candid advice and counsel, as I have for my entire life.” This counsel from a woman who has worked for equal treatment of women in the workplace could be seen as a positive by those wishing Trump’s agenda addressed women’s equality issues. 

But according to a Politico article by Annie Karni, many are questioning the ethics of Trump’s new office; some argue that because Ivanka Trump has her own clothing and jewelry line, her appointment raises questions about conflicts of interest. The clothing and jewelry brand is in her name, so any publicity she receives could be seen as promotion of her company. Her attorney argues that Ivanka has distanced herself from the company as much as possible. 

Another conflict in the eyes of some is the nepotism displayed by Ivanka’s gaining a position in the White House. In an article for Elle, Sady Doyle notes that there are women who have spent their lives working for a position in the White House; Ivanka Trump has one because she is Donald Trump’s daughter. While this is a valid argument, “Fly on the Wall” (a podcast from GUPolitics) host Christen Mesa (Col ’19), argues that no one lost a desk when Ivanka was given an office: “How likely would Donald Trump be to hire a liberal-leaning feminist in the White House?”

So Ivanka Trump’s position is likely the only way a liberal-leaning feminist will be heard in the White House, according to Mesa. This can be a positive, if she uses her trusted relationship with the President to benefit women. But it does show that, for those not related to the president, there are great barriers in the fight for women’s equality in the work place.


To listen to “Fly on the Wall”: http://twitter.us15.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=694e0c8fb67e7f54369db4f0a&id=8934a96a10&e=811f8f2373