Ivanka Trump an unsuitable representative on women’s rights

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The three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) that ended on Thursday made a lot of buzz in the media, but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of being dominated by the outcomes of the summit, Ivanka Trump’s leading the US delegation grabbed more attention, mostly negative.

To add fuel to the fire, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s decision not to send a high-level delegation to the summit made the internal strife more evident, disparaging the most high-profile event the First Daughter of United States has so far undertaken.

India hosted the summit for the first time, which was indeed a matter of pride, and the establishment did a perfect job as host by throwing out a massive red carpet. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special interest in wooing Ms Trump looked rather overdone, it was nevertheless a smart move to reach out to the White House.

Unfortunately, the agenda of summit disappeared somewhere among the big names, and it seems to have been reduced to a mutual fan club between Ivanka Trump and Modi. Whatever the outcomes of the GES, I hope the efforts of the red-carpet welcome in Hyderabad, the culling of stray dogs and rounding up of beggars on the streets don’t go down the drain.

Ever since Donald Trump got elected as president of the United States, I have had many doubts over the decisions made in the US, which have mostly been tragic and disastrous. But why so much resentment over Trump’s daughter leading the delegation? It is evident that she is not qualified to represent her country, but neither is her father. His irresponsible stand on internal policies and international issues has been more than tragic. I wonder why Twitter has not yet censored his account for the hatred and false arguments he promotes online.

Coming back to the representation of Ivanka Trump, the US delegation to the GES was doomed to fail because of the absence of high-level officials. On top of that, there could not have been a more inappropriate choice than Ms Trump to voice the rights of women. Daughter of a man who has time and again been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct, her silence speaks louder than her claim of “women first, prosperity for all.” We in India hardly need to import activism from a country that is after more than 200 years of independence still struggling to resolve its gender wage gap.

A businessperson who fails to check the abuse within her own back yard or even to take a public stand on alleged abuses in her brand’s own supply chain is definitely the most inappropriate person to represent healthy business practices

Ms Trump owns a brand that has most of its manufacturing done in labor-intensive China and India. Because of the broad availability of cheap labor, these production markets are often exploited by big brands. The Ivanka Trump label is no exception, with numerous allegations over labor and human-rights abuses.

A businessperson who fails to check the abuse within her own back yard or even to take a public stand on alleged abuses in her brand’s own supply chain is definitely the most inappropriate person to represent healthy business practices. Her message of empowering poor women is contradictory to her actions.

The Center for American Progress, a think-tank, has given a more than disappointing report card for the junior Trump’s record on women’s and working families’ issues, concluding: “Ivanka Trump has the opportunity to be a force for policies that help women. But so far, her work has amounted to little more than photo ops and tweets, and she has failed to articulate a set of concrete policy solutions to address women’s diverse experiences and challenges.”

And here we are making a “champion” of women’s rights of a woman who is proud to carry on her business legacy of abuse and mistreatment professionally and in her personal life.

It is even more shocking to know that Ms Trump has the official role of an adviser to the US president, with some significant portfolios including women’s empowerment, female entrepreneurship, and issues affecting working families. At a time when the US is facing international criticism on all fronts, be it for its disastrous internal reforms, divisive international policies or President Trump’s overactive and unscrupulous Twitter posts, having Ivanka represent America on an international platform has made a mockery of what the United States has always stood for – merit and talent.

There could not have been a more unsuitable representative of such a significant portfolio. But things like this are bound to occur when a country’s mandate is handed to unscrupulous representatives.

It’s time that the people of the United States got their act together and made better choices in upcoming elections. Until then, let the discussions and disagreements get going to bring the public narrative close to actual reality.

As for us Indians, let the host city enjoy the amazing facelift it underwent ahead of this celebrity welcome of a kind that happens once in lifetime.

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