This week, a report in The Washington Post got a lot of attention for what it revealed about the business interests of the first daughter. Namely, that the Chinese factory that produces Ivanka Trump's clothing line reportedly pays just slightly more than $1 per hour, a staggeringly low wage that would be considered inhumane by American standards.
As the daughter of President Donald Trump who holds an official presidential assistant position with an office in the White House, Ivanka's business have come under increasingly harsh scrutiny in recent weeks. The Trump family's ongoing ties to its businesses, all while its patriarch sits in the Oval Office, has been a source of consternation, outcry, and condemnation from many observers, including former Bush and Obama administration ethics lawyers Richard Painter and Norm Eisen.
According to The Washington Post's report, workers at the factory make somewhere between $255 to $283 per month, all while working nearly 60 hours per week at the G-III Apparel Group factory. It's not solely about Ivanka, to be clear ― other clothing brands, like Tommy Hifilger and Calvin Klein, also reportedly manufacture their products there, for the same dismally low pay rates. But considering her newfound position as arguably one of the most influential women on Earth — and her father's repeated threats against American companies that manufacture their products outside of the country — it's no surprise that Ivanka's involvement is drawing the most scrutiny.
The amount of money the G-III workers are bringing home is reportedly about half the average income of a Chinese manufacturing worker, an average that's already alarmingly low by American standards. Following a visit and inspection, the Fair Labor Association cited the factory for a whopping two dozen international labor standards violations, as determined by the United Nations International Labor Organization.
Sadly, while this story most definitely involves Ivanka, it's actually about something much bigger and more pervasive: the oppressive conditions and scant wages factory workers in China spend long, long hours earning, even when they are being paid the minimum wage. And, of course, the broader issue of inhumane, exploitative treatment of workers in foreign countries enables and feeds lower prices, and a culture of enthusiastic, unquestioning capitalist consumerism within the United States.
In any case, that's something to think about the next time you see a piece of clothing from Ivanka's line hanging on a rack someplace ― but make no mistake, it's something you should be thinking about in the context of clothing manufacturing more broadly, too.