Why Ivanka Trump was booed at the W20 Summit

Why Ivanka Trump was booed at the W20 Summit.

While sharing a stage in Berlin with Angela Merkel, Christine Lagarde and Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, the “first daughter” of America, Ivanka Trump, faced booing, hissing and jeering for defending her father’s treatment of women.

The conduct could be described as a little disrespectful. But compared to her father’s treatment of women? It was positively mannerly.

Ivanka Trump was representing the United States at W20 event, which is related to the G20 and focuses on female business leaders and economic empowerment.

The panel moderator Miriam Meckel, a prominent editor and communications professor, posed several pertinent questions to the “first daughter”.

“Some attitudes toward women your father has publicly displayed in former times might leave someone questioning whether he is such an empowerer for women. Are things changing?”

She responded that the thousands of women who have worked for her father “are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man.”

And yet proof of this is difficult to see.

The fact Trump’s very first executive order – reintroducing the Global Gag Rule – effectively strips women’s rights certainly seems at odds with a leader purportedly interested in equality.

Meckel also inquired about the scope of Ivanka’s role in the administration.

“The German audience is not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter. I’d like to ask you, what is your role, and who are you representing, your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?”

“Certainly not the latter,” Ms Trump replied. “And I am rather unfamiliar with this role as well, as it is quite new to me.”

Ivanka’s role is unorthodox. If she wasn’t occupying an office in the White House, it would be disingenuous to hold her responsible for her father’s presidency.

But Ivanka is acting with her father. The fact she attended the W20 is proof of the proximity: offspring of Presidents don’t – as a matter of course – earn a seat at powerful global summits.

Ivanka did because her role is different. She is standing alongside her father and, as such, she can’t not be held to account for his record. She is complicit.

Her personal commitment to women’s empowerment and equality is well stated. It is – I am certain (and hopeful) – bona fides. But actions speak louder than words: particularly in the realm of gender equality. Talk is cheap.

The only actions we have seen from Trump’s administration – and the president himself – only reinforce the impression Meckel mentioned. What evidence is there that he supports the empowerment of women?

Trump, like our own Tony Abbott, has stated many times, his unwavering respect for women. And yet it is difficult to find proof of it.

We see him defending the likes of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly upon losing their jobs for harassing their female peers. And why wouldn’t he? It’s not unfamiliar terrain. By his own admission, being free to sexually assault women is one of the spoils that accompanies his wealth.

Of course Ivanka is not responsible for her father’s past words nor his past conduct. But she is complicit in his presidency. She is complicit in the rhetoric that his campaign and his administration – promotes.

Because of that, she couldn’t possibly have attended W20 and not faced questions about her commitment to women’s empowerment.

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