Ivanka Trump, Merkel Debate Women’s Empowerment, Notions Of Feminism

dpa, Berlin

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) After insisting that she was “certainly not” in Berlin to promote her business interests, Ivanka Trump was forced to defend her father’s attitudes towards women at the Women20 Summit in Berlin on Tuesday.

BERLIN

White House adviser Ivanka Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among delegates discussing women’s economic and professional empowerment and notions of feminism at the Women20 Summit in Berlin on Tuesday.

The panel brought together Trump and Merkel for the second time since the 35-year-old’s billionaire father, Donald Trump, took office as US president in February and comes at a time when many are still trying to gauge Washington’s foreign and domestic policy stance.

After insisting that she was “certainly not” in Berlin to promote her business interests, Trump was forced to defend her father’s attitudes towards women.

She said that Donald Trump’s thousands of female co-workers and employees were “a testament to his solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man.”

Trump, who gave up the management of her fashion brand to serve as an unpaid White House adviser, has yet to reveal how she plans to implement the childcare and parental leave policies she promoted during her father’s presidential campaign.

During the panel discussion, she gave little insight into her father’s plans, saying only that removing “stifling” regulations and addressing the lack of female participation in the sciences were priorities for his administration.

Merkel refused to answer a question about whether or not she was a feminist, saying that participants in the women’s liberation movement had fought “fierce battles” and that she felt uncomfortable taking credit for their successes.

Trump, meanwhile, said that though she identified as a feminist as a believer in the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, the term had “become so loaded … it feels exclusionary of others.”

Other participants in the panel discussion included Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

Lagarde said that although she had repeatedly criticized Merkel for Germany’s budget surplus, she appreciated the chancellor’s decision to increase public spending on childcare facilities in the country.

Later on her one-day visit to Berlin, Trump is scheduled to visit a vocational college, attend a meeting at the US Embassy and visit Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Trump converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner, who has also assumed an official role in her father’s administration.

Ahead of her visit, Trump called for initiatives for women’s empowerment in a Financial Times editorial she co-authored with Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank.

“We need to increase access to finance, redistribute care work, accelerate progress to financial inclusion, and offer programs that train female entrepreneurs and help them access higher value markets,” Trump and Kim wrote in Monday’s editorial.

“We need to develop new legal and regulatory frameworks to boost women’s growth and productivity. The right skills training enhances women’s capacity to manage their businesses,” the pair wrote.

Berlin-based activists were planning to hold a demonstration outside the Deutsche Bank-sponsored Kunsthalle museum later on Tuesday in a effort to highlight “the hypocrisy of Ivanka Trump’s participation in the W20.”

“How can Ivanka Trump refer to women’s ’empowerment’ while President Trump cuts funding for reproductive health? Ivanka’s silence on such life-or-death issues says everything,” said Kathleen Brown of the left-wing opposition Die Linke party.

Merkel and Ivanka Trump met in Washington in March during the German leader’s first official visit to the Trump White House.

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