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Opinion

Ivanka Trump’s Support for End of Obama-Era Equal Pay Policy Exposes Her Faux Feminism

Ivanka Trump, who proudly identifies as an advocate for women’s rights when it’s convenient, on Tuesday released a statement in support of the White House’s decision to repeal an Obama-era rule meant to fight racial and sexual pay discrimination. Since 2016, the rule required businesses to send data on how much they pay their workers based on race, gender, and ethnicity in an effort to promote transparency and fight pay discrimination, which disproportionately affects women of color.

It was surprising that Ivanka, who’s previously declared her life mission is fighting for gender parity in the workplace, didn’t just keep silent about the White House’s decision, an act (or non-act, rather) that’s become expected of her with every decision her father makes that sharply contradicts her narrative as a conscientious modern feminist — the bill allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood, the transgender military ban, the list goes on. But this week, she released a statement praising the White House’s decision:

“Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results. We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.”

Notably, her statement speaks nothing of how minority women disproportionately face workplace discrimination, but this is pretty run-of-the-mill for her. Ivanka has never called attention to race and its existence, nor how the women in the workplace she claims to champion for can have very different experiences and needs on the basis of their identities.

Ivanka, who has clothing in her brand made in factories in Asia where working women face low wages, exploitation and abuse, has previously promoted a parental leave plan that exclusively benefits married, wealthy women, and in so doing helps to promote the same culturally internalized gender roles that deny women opportunity for raises and promotions in the workplace.

Today, the gender wage gap exists for a number of reasons — cultural pressures and hostile work environments that steer women into lower-paying fields, devaluation of feminized work, gendered perceptions of who’s worthier of advancement and higher pay — but research has shown that concern for women getting pregnant and becoming their children’s sole caretaker is a powerful factor.

In either case, Ivanka’s support for repealing a policy that would have held businesses accountable for discriminating against women and, notably, women of color, is nothing to be surprised for. In many ways, the “colorblind” approach has become one of her signature moves since moving to D.C., as she claims to care about women in the workplace, all while turning a blind eye to factors like how they’ll access birth control, abortion, and all the other reproductive health services they need to safely control their bodies and succeed in the workplace.

Her concern for women’s rights has never gone farther than using hollow “girl power” rhetoric to promote her brand, and her public opposition to a policy for equal pay proves this isn’t about to change any time soon.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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