The Hypocrisy of Ivanka Trump’s Female Empowerment Campaign in Saudi Arabia

Today Ivanka Trump participated in a roundtable about women’s economic issues during her father’s overseas trip to Saudi Arabia. The billionaire businesswoman and former fashion model sat among a few accomplished women of Saudi Arabia to address female empowerment in a nation that is known to be one of the world’s most repressive societies toward women.

“In every country, including the United States, women and girls face challenges,” she said. “Saudi Arabia’s progress, especially in recent years, is very encouraging.” Trump’s statements were received by a wave of applause.

Later, she introduced World Bank’s Jim Yong Kim, who announced that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have pledged a total of $100 million toward Ivanka Trump’s and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s women’s empowerment fund. He praised their effort as a “stunning achievement.”

While discussing her previous work on women’s issues in the United States and around the world, Trump referred to herself as a “female leader within the Trump administration.” However, her leadership is synonymous with her father’s nepotism and the ability to use her executive position to solicit empty funds for a cause such as women’s economic disempowerment, which she has neither experienced nor researched.

The ability of a woman whose financial stability is largely contingent on her last name and is made possible by the labor of others to participate in a roundtable discussion among local Saudi women speaking of female empowerment, rights and economic stability is a testament to her unchecked privilege. To let these nuances go unaddressed during her appearances is hypocritical.

This comes shortly after Trump’s new book “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success,” was released and criticized for being a hodgepodge of empty pre-written motivational quotes and not at all relatable to the everyday woman that works. In fact, a New York Times review stated that she barely mentioned all the household help she received while managing daily tasks, executive positions and personal activities, a privilege not afforded to the majority of those whom she addresses for her female empowerment campaign.

On the next stop during her father’s foreign trip, Ivanka will be making a visit to Israel’s Western Wall and then will spend the remainder of the trip in Rome where she will focus on the issue of human trafficking.