For the second year in a row, thousands of people convened on the National Mall for the Women’s March. Aimed at supporting the advancement of women’s rights and marginalized communities around the country, about half a million marchers attended the Washington, D.C. rally in 2017. While this year’s event was smaller in nature, attendees were fired up as ever, and many came armed with messages about everything from reproductive rights to the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.
Amid the many issues that were highlighted at this year's march, one of the most controversial figures among women’s rights advocates is the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. While she holds a prominent role in the White House, it’s not always clear what she does.
Many are particularly concerned by Ivanka’s efforts to present herself as a champion of women, despite serving in an administration that has not shown any interest in advancing this agenda. On the subject of the sexual harassment accusations leveled at her father over the year, Ivanka has stayed silent.
Given the outsize role that she holds in her father’s administration, Bustle asked women at Saturday’s march how they’d like to see Ivanka use her power differently. The answers ranged from sarcastic to serious, but most came down to one thing: women want to see Ivanka be more straightforward about what she stands for.
Janie, 24, & Audrey, 25, of Washington, D.C.
Ivanka has publicly declared her support for STEM programs, visiting schools to promote this curriculum and speaking about it during trips abroad. Janie and Audrey hope that Ivanka will make good on her promise to encourage more women to pursue STEM and computer science paths, rather than using the subject solely to promote her image.
Pamela, 22, Jake, 21, Adele, 20, Bridget, 20, & Vanessa, 20, of Washington, D.C.
Ivanka famously told reporters that she believed the accusers of Roy Moore when a slew of allegations came out about the candidate during his campaign for Alabama Senate this fall. (Moore has denied all wrongdoing.) Nevertheless, Ivanka has never said anything about her father's own accusers — these students think it's time she started believing more women.
Cindy, 72, of Tucson, Arizona
Cindy Smith echoed a similar piece of advice for Ivanka — she wants the president's daughter to be more truthful about her father's flaws, particularly those that have affected women over the years.
Rebecca, 30, of Washington, D.C.
In his tell-all book, Michael Wolff recently revealed that Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, had discussed the possibility of her running for president one day. Rebecca Phillips would prefer that the first woman president be someone who has worked to attain that title, rather than ride on the coattails of her powerful father.
Alin, 18, of Howard County, Maryland
Ivanka is lucky, in that she has a platform and a voice. When she speaks, people listen — and Alin thinks she could be using her voice in a more intelligence, effective way.
Louise, 43, & Katherine, of Washington, D.C.
For Louise Muth, it all comes back to the president and his less-than-stellar record on women. She recommended that Ivanka use her proximity to Trump in order to have an honest discussion with him about gender equality and sexual harassment.
Sarah, 18, of Springfield, Virginia
Much like her father, Ivanka has a powerful platform in her social media accounts. Rather than use Twitter to spout off the benefits of say, her father's tax plan, Sarah Pakyar thinks the first daughter can develop her online presence, and separate herself as a unique, and even positive, voice.
Anna, 26, of Virginia
In an interview with CBS last April, Ivanka dodged the question of whether she was guilty of cooperating with the president in order to promote his agenda. Instead, Trump's daughter said she didn't even know what it meant to be "complicit." Anna Heacock didn't buy the excuse, and would like to see Ivanka change this attitude.
Gail, 61, of Maryland
Remember when Ivanka tweeted about champagne popsicles on Memorial Day? The message came off as particularly tone deaf for this holiday, and Gail Helveston hasn't forgotten about it. She'd like to see Ivanka narrow in on issues that she actually knows something about.
Taina, 61, of Washington, D.C.
Taina Litwak, a D.C. local, would simply like to see Ivanka leave town. Like so many, she doesn't appreciate the fact that Ivanka works to advance her father's destructive agenda, and would like to see her be more honest about what Trump stands for.
Edie, 67, of Annapolis, Maryland
Many recognize that Ivanka is smart enough to maneuver her way into a top spot in the White House, and has her father's ear on a number of issues. Edie Chevalier would rather see her use her brains for good, and distance herself from her father.
Clare, 18, of Washington, D.C.
Ivanka promotes a certain type of femininity, writing simultaneously about Women Who Work while promoting the latest trend in table decor. This aura of femininity makes Ivanka attractive to many voters, but Clare thinks that she can use it to affect real change, rather than promote her own image.
C.J., 29, of Boston, Massachusetts
Rather than focus on her father's agenda, C.J. Williams think Ivanka should just be herself — the strongest feminist statement would be to come out against Trump when he does and says things that are clearly antithetical to the women's movement.
Dena, 28, of Washington, D.C.
Ivanka openly often talks about her Jewish faith, and has even been called "the world's most influential Jew." Dena Shayne thinks the first daughter could live our her religious values more deliberately by fighting for causes such as DACA and Black Lives Matter.
Sarah, of Washington, D.C.
Her message is simple: Do Better.
Meredith, 30, of Washington, D.C.
Despite tweeting about the Time's Up movement and regularly advocating for women's causes, Ivanka has never actually participated in a Women's March herself. Meredith thinks the best way she could use her power is to join with women to advocate for gender equality.
Sadie, 18, of Washington, D.C.
If Ivanka truly knows where her role in this administration is going, Sadie thinks the president's daughter would be wise to get out now.
Arianna, 19, of Washington, D.C.
Like so many other women, Arianna can't help but think of Trump's record on women when she thinks of Ivanka. She'd like to see the president's daughter stand up to him, rather than stay silent.
Stephanie, 23, of Baltimore, Maryland
Ivanka isn't the only one in her family to occupy a prominent place in the White House thanks to her dad — her husband, Jared, was given a large portfolio upon entering Trump's administration. Now, Kushner is facing questions surrounding his involvement with Russia during the 2016 election. Might Ivanka be better off without him?
Wonder Woman, of Arlington, Virginia
As a government worker, this Wonder Woman preferred not to give her real name, but had plenty of advice to offer Ivanka. Rather than promote her father's divisive policies, this woman would like to see Ivanka reject them, and recognize that money is not the only thing voters are motivated by.
Dee, Maya, & Sheryl, of Alexandria, Virginia
8-year-old Maya said it best: "Get a life."
Kim, 17, of Arlington, Virginia
Ivanka talks a big game, but it's hard to see how her words translate into actions sometimes. Kim Harvey would like the first daughter to show that she means what she says.
Ella, 16, of Washington, D.C.
Ella Gantman thinks that Ivanka's troubles can be fixed with one simple piece of advice: "don't be a hypocrite." She wants to see the president's daughter held accountable to the values she claims to uphold.
Kelly, 38, of Columbus, Ohio
The lifestyle that Ivanka promotes through her brand is one that few can afford, or envision. Kelly — who was encouraging to sign banners in support of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter this afternoon — thinks that she should find a way to stand up for women of all classes and ethnicities.
Mira, 20, of Washington, D.C.
Ivanka claims to be a champion of women, and has expressed an interest in passing legislation for issues like paid parental leave. Mira still thinks that she could take it further when it comes to helping everyday U.S. citizens.
Liz, 19, of Los Angeles, California
The allegations made by women against the current president are serious and disturbing. (Trump has vehemently denied accusations of sexual misconduct.) Liz wishes that Ivanka wouldn't defend him.
Elena, 18, of San Jose, California
Ivanka has been criticized for promoting a certain feminism that speaks to one type of woman. Elena would like to see her be more inclusive.
Faye, 18, of Washington, D.C.
As someone who has a close relationship with the president, Ivanka knows the true nature of his personality. Faye would like to see her be more upfront out about Trump's flaws.