Each time an anti-woman policy comes out of the Trump White House, there is a noticable silence from one of the key players in the administration: Ivanka Trump. There was lots of hope early on during her dad's presidency that she would be willing and able to stand up to her father when it came to women's rights — based on her speech at the Republican National Convention in 2016. And yet there are at least
16 ways that Ivanka has failed American women, and it hasn't even been a year since her father took office.
Ivanka shouldn't take all the blame, but
her silence has been deafening — and when she hasn't remained silent, she has explicitly backed the administration, furthering anti-women arguments. This is striking given how she's positioned herself in the media, trying to paint herself as an advocate for women, children, and families.
Ivanka knows her limits, and
her influence is far more limited than what many hoped. She told The Financial Times that people had unrealistic expectations of her. "That my presence, in and of itself, would carry so much weight with my father, that he would abandon his core values and the agenda that the American people voted for when they elected him. It’s not going to happen," she told the publication in September, adding that she wouldn't "undermine" the administration publicly when she doesn't agree with a particular policy.
But more and more, she has taken to defending her father's policies. Take the rescinding of DACA — which adversely
affects women at a higher rate than men. Ivanka is apologetic for her father's position. "There has to be a long-term fix and it cannot be bandaged over at a presidential level through another executive order that can be rescinded through another administration," she told the audience at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in D.C. this week. But her father's administration is what's putting these young people's immediate futures at risk — it's not some other threat outside the administration.
Given that it's the policies from her father and his administration (which she works for) that made the United States worse for women, silence just won't cut it. Both tacit approval and explicit endorsement of these following polices amount to a failure.
1) The Birth Control Mandate Rollback
One of the administration's latest and most harmful actions against women. Trump's Health and Human Services Department wrote an even bigger exemption for employers that don't want to
provide birth control coverage for their employees. Ivanka has remained silent on the issue. 2) Ending Title IX Protections For Sexual Assault Victims
Betsy Devos, the head of the Education Department, decided to
change course on Title IX rules that were meant to protect the victims of sexual assault on campus. She wants to implement one that tips the balance toward the alleged perpetrators. Ivanka did not comment on the issue. 3) Global Gag Rule Reinstated
Upon taking office, Trump signed a
harsh version of the global gag rule that prohibits any organization receiving U.S. money from even mentioning abortion to women they service. While technically terrible for women around the globe, this is an important win for conservatives against American women because it advances the anti-abortion argument here at home too. Ivanka said nothing. 4) Title X Funding Planned Parenthood
Speaking of the fight against abortion rights in the country, here was one of the next steps that Trump took: He signed a bill that allowed states to
discriminate against Planned Parenthood when dispersing Title X funds. Now states can decide not to fund the organization just because they also provide abortions — in addition to the sexual and reproductive health services that the federal money pays for. Ivanka had no public comment. Instead reports show she supports spinning off abortion services from Planned Parenthood as some sort of compromise. 5) White Supremacy In The White House
This doesn't just hurt American women, men, too, are affected. But given that women are doubly discriminated against in many cases, it's important to include this in the list too. You could talk about the NFL protests here, and Trump's attacks on the players, but of course the president's responses to Charlottesville are huge. The fact that Ivanka
couldn't get her dad to condemn the neo-Nazis is an outrage. She did tweet out her own condemnation of white supremacy, but then adopted her dad's "unity" language in the following tweet. Not once did she publicly challenge his moral equivalency. 6) Cutting Aid To Women Worldwide 7) Neil Gorsuch's Appointment
The Trump administration will come to an end, be it in 2020 or 2024. But his
appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is as close to forever as it comes in politics.
Gorsuch has a sordid record when it comes to
protecting women's rights. Not only does he hold anti-abortion views, but he has accused women of abusing maternity leave. Family leave is one of the issues that Ivanka cares about most and yet she has remained silent on Gorsuch — a seat that Republicans stole from President Obama. 8) Bathroom Rules That Discriminate Against Transgender People
One of Ivanka's goals in the White House seemed to be the protection of LGBTQ rights. She reportedly
talked her dad out of signing a harmful executive order at the beginning of his presidency. But then came the attacks on transgender people, starting with students in public schools.
The administration decided to
roll back Obama-era rules that entitled students to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity. This is a failure both for trans women, and all women, given that our ideas of gender norms and trans discrimination are intertwined. Also at risk here are protections against discrimination based on sex in the law. Ivanka had no comment. 9) The Transgender Military Ban 10) LGBTQ People In Federal Workplace
Now the administration is going after LGBTQ women more broadly in the federal workforce,
specifically trans workers. Sessions argues: "Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity , including transgender status." And that's on top of arguments from the DOJ that per se sexual orientation is not a protected class under current law. Ivanka hasn't addressed this. 11) Equal Pay Rules Revoked
This is perhaps
the most obnoxious issue of all. Here she clearly and actively failed. The Trump administration stopped an Obama plan that would have had businesses provide information about how different workers were paid based on gender, race, and other criteria. It would have been key to identifying unequal pay.
Ivanka supported the decision, calling the policy "burdensome." What about the burden of being underpaid solely because you're a woman? 12) Delayed And May Undo Increases In Overtime Pay
Obama moved to extend overtime pay to a much larger sector of American workers, raising the income cut-off and changing some other rules so that more people who don't control their schedule could qualify. Then it went to court, and the Trump administration
was slow to respond, delaying the whole matter. Now it seems they will change the rule altogether.
This overtime increase
would have been a huge benefit to women — at a greater rate than to men — and single mothers in particular would have benefited. Ivanka had no public comment. 13) Endangered Women’s Retirements
The Trump Labor Department seems
keen to undue the "fiduciary rule," which would require investment advisors not rip you off. When they don't have their clients' best interests in mind, they could cost people them their retirement savings. That affects women to a higher degree because they're paid less their entire lives. Ivanka has not addressed it. 14) No More After-School Programs
Some 1.8 million poor kids could be affected by the decision to
cut funding to after-school programs, as the Trump budget proposal details. That would affect working mothers who would then need to find and pay for alternative childcare. Ivanka didn't mention this publicly, even after previously promising her dad would find a way to provide "affordable" childcare for all. 15) Cuts To Teen Pregnancy Prevention Funds
Most of these failures have focused on grown women, but the young are also at risk of Trump's policies and Ivanka's inability to stop or denounce them. A number of programs that seek to help end
teen pregnancy had their funds cut. Explain that one if you can. Ivanka, so far, hasn't. 16) When Her Father Hired Way More Men
For all the
talk of promoting women at the Trump Organization, including from Ivanka herself, the administration has failed to hire them fairly. Three of every four appointees from the Trump White House are men. Given that women make up about half the work force, it doesn't seem fair.
Given Ivanka's — and the president's for that matter — focus on business, it seems that this is a true failure. Promoting women in the government should be just as fair as in the workplace, and honestly much more fair given that they're working for and representing everyone in the country, half of whom are women.
Ivanka's failure to stop these things from happening within the White House, or to speak out publicly, are a failure for women across the country.