Ivanka Trump’s White House Gig Is Opening Doors For Women

A rebuttal to Amanda Carpenter’s opinion piece in Cosmopolitan.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Last week, CNN Contributor and political speechwriter Amanda Carpenter penned an opinion piece for Cosmopolitan, arguing that Ivanka Trump’s new role at the White House is an insult to working women. I disagree.

As a working millennial woman, I admire and support the work that Ivanka Trump is doing on behalf of women nationally and globally. I love how she posts pictures of both her family and work life on Twitter, and watching her personal story unfold has been an inspiration to me.

I was excited to hear that Ivanka was invited by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to attend the W20 summit in Germany this April, and that Ivanka helped to arrange a meeting between American and German business leaders on the topic of vocational training during Merkel’s visit.

I was proud of the meeting the first daughter organized last month for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit, to discuss economic development opportunities for women.

I felt hopeful and excited when I read about Ivanka’s roundtable meeting with Latina business owners earlier this month, organized in partnership with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC). Ivanka wanted to make sure that the concerns of all women were heard and addressed, especially relating to access to capital, networks, and business opportunities.

As Lili Gil Valletta, an award-winning entrepreneur and cultural innovator who was present at the meeting, wrote, “I was one of the business owners invited, and was particularly impressed by Ivanka’s genuine concern and engagement as she learned about our journey and unique challenges as immigrants, business owners and moms in the workplace.”

In her opinion piece, Carpenter asks of the first daughter, “What’s she doing exactly? Nobody knows.”

Well, take a closer look — Ivanka Trump is championing women’s rights and promoting access to new opportunities for women of all backgrounds.

“What qualifies her?” demands Carpenter.

How about her own intelligence, business acumen, experience running a corporation, entrepreneurial and management skills, and the Ivy League from which she graduated cum laude with a degree in economics?

Ivanka Trump knows that she has had a leg up in life — in her speech at the Republican National Convention last July, she admitted: “I also know that I’m far more fortunate than most.” Perhaps that is the real reason why she isn’t taking a salary at the White House. She knows she does not need the money, and therefore does not want to collect it.

As for Carpenter’s claims of nepotism — well, yes. Being the president’s daughter has given her an advantage in participating in White House affairs.

But to suggest that this is “a slap in the face to women who have toiled for years, for little pay, hoping to work up the ladder and obtain a White House job one day,” as Carpenter writes, misses the point. Ivanka is doing a great job at the White House. Does her involvement in White House affairs really cause other women to feel badly and stop working their way up the ladder?

I doubt it.

Who’s to say that Ivanka Trump isn’t exactly where she needs to be — where our country and indeed our world, needs her to be — right now?

Undoubtedly, family connections in business have benefited countless organizations throughout history, from mom-and-pop shops to farms to multi-national corporations. In many ways, this is no different than networking and making meaningful connections with people in the industries that you are passionate about.

Personal recommendations from former employers, friends of your family, and other unique business connections are often catalysts for promotions in the workforce. They are usually facilitated through intimate networking connections, particularly for individuals who are climbing the corporate or political ladder. This is nothing new.

Frankly, I’m happy to see Ivanka “seated at the table” and inserting herself into conversations and White House initiatives. I like her. I trust her. Do I agree with every single move she’s made or every comment she’s uttered? No. But that’s to be expected with any leader, and truly, in any relationship.

I’ve followed Ivanka closely since the presidential election started. I began to pay more attention and to take her seriously after listening to her deliver a powerful and intelligent speech at the Republican National Convention.

And from one working woman to another, I can honestly say — I’m happy to see her succeeding.

The author is a writer and a graduate of Emerge America. She ran for the Cambridge City Council in 2013. Stay up-to-date with Kristen. Follow her on Twitter.


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