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Ivanka Trump: An unlikely ally for feminists?

Associated Press

Associated Press

Ivanka Trump has found herself in the national spotlight more than ever since her father was elected to the most powerful office in the world. While she is already a famous face and a wildly successful businesswoman in her own right, being a member of the first family brings a special kind of exposure — both positive and negative. Given Donald Trump’s surprising and controversial rise to political prowess, liberal feminists have made made it a top priority to take down his daughter for simply being associated with him. As if she had a choice.

This is a startling oversimplification of Ivanka’s political ideology. What feminists don’t realize is that they have far more in common with Ivanka Trump than they may realize. Her politics are certainly not outwardly conservative. Ivanka has been an advocate for government paid maternity leave and pay equality, and has recently requested a meeting with Planned Parenthood.

Instead of letting free markets do their job, Ivanka continues to urge the Donald to mandate paid family leave. Axios reported that senior official emails credited Ivanka for working with Senior Advisor Stephen Miller on the President’s Joint Address to Congress speech. During the speech, President Trump said, “My administration wants to work with members in both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have paid family leave, to invest in women’s health.” According to the staff emails, “Ivanka was working with Miller in his office in the afternoon on the speech, including the paragraph on ‘paid family leave … women’s health.’”

Suspending reality for a moment and assuming that the gender pay gap is real instead of an economic and political fallacy, Ivanka has been an outspoken advocate for equal pay, despite pay discrimination legislation being on the books for decades. During her speech at the Republican National Convention, Ivanka had an opportunity to address the crowd before introducing her father to accept the Republican nomination for President. In her remarks, Ivanka called for closing the supposed pay gap.

“Women represent 46 percent of the total U.S. labor force, and 40 percent of American households have female primary breadwinners,” she said. “In 2014, women made 83 cents for every dollar made by a man. Single women without children earn 94 cents for each dollar earned by a man, whereas married mothers made only 77 cents.”

She continued to ensure the crowd that “He will fight for equal pay for equal work, and I will fight for this too, right alongside of him.” Obviously women deserve equal pay for equal work, but Ivanka seems to have forgotten the wide variety of personal choices that influence one’s career path, such as degree choice, salary and benefits negotiation, desired flexibility in the workplace, and so much more.

Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, Ivanka Trump had a private meeting with Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood. The hushed meeting that recently went public was requested by Ivanka herself in an effort to better understand the operations of the organization and to find “common ground on the contentious issue of abortion.” Any goodwill that Ivanka earned across the aisle was quickly erased when the Senate passed a measure allowing states to block Planned Parenthood funding, as if she was the person who cast the tie breaking vote as opposed to Mike Pence.

The response to Ivanka Trump’s influence has been peculiar. It’s puzzling albeit unsurprising that liberal feminists are quick to protest Ivanka despite agreeing with her on a variety of policy issues. Outrage culture has blinded many in the political sphere from seeing clearly and fostering bipartisan relationships and reaching across the aisle. If the liberal feminist movement could put down their picket signs and back away from hashtag activism for just a moment, they may find an unlikely ally in Ivanka Trump.

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