She’s an advisor to the White House and the daughter of President Donald Trump. But what is Ivanka Trump doing in Africa? This month she’s coming to Ethiopia and Ivory Coast. Why? She says it’s to promote women’s economic empowerment.
Refinery29 reports: “I am excited to travel to Africa and advance the United States’ Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative.” – Ivanka Trump.
View this post on Instagram
What’s the Plan?
The Trump administration announced the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative in February. But what’s the plan here? Well, the aim is to help 50 million women get ahead economically in developing countries.
She’s made similar trips to India and other places. Now, you might be thinking weren’t these developing countries what Donald Trump called shithole countries? Nonetheless, the U.S. government has put 50 million dollars into this project and hopes to see a change by 2025.
She adds: “This mission is crucial to the peace and stability of nations and is achievable if we focus our collaborative efforts on job training, entrepreneurship, and breaking down the legal and cultural barriers that restrict women from achieving their full economic potential.”
Why the Skepticism?
The Trump administration (which she is very much a part of) has decided to double down and EXPAND on its anti-choice Mexico City Policy. This policy bans funding for abortion services overseas. This does not uphold women’s rights but takes away women’s right to choose what to do with their own bodies. Do we really want that here?
It’s not only abortion care they’ve been shutting down. Advocates argue that these healthcare providers now have to choose between pulling their abortion services or lose further funding that allows them to offer STI tests and birth control.
Imagine this policy in Africa? A continent that desperately needs more STI testing facilities (not less), as well as proper access to safe abortions, and education about reproductive health (without the stigma). A policy like this could do much more harm than good.
And The Irony Is?
In the Wall Street Journal, Ivanka Trump outlines the three pillars of the initiative:
- workforce and vocational development for women
- entrepreneurial investment
- eliminating cultural and legal barriers preventing women from participating in the economy
The irony is that the Trump administration’s global anti-abortion plans are completely at odds with all three pillars. Taking away women’s reproductive rights negatively affects their education, their ability to be a part of the workforce and reinforces the problematic norm that women don’t have agency over their own bodies.
Read more: How to Get a Safe Abortion in South Africa
It also pushes women to have unsafe, illegal abortions, which is already a big enough problem here as is. This takes us back to the original question:
What Exactly is She Doing in Africa?
Aside from the obvious PR photo opportunity, what will happen? Ivanka Trump will reportedly be meeting with political leaders and female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia and Ivory Coast. Although the objective of helping women economically is vague. How exactly? There’ll be a summit, of course.
What does women’s empowerment look like in the eyes of the Trump administration? Because if it looks anything like what they’ve done to women’s rights in North America, it’s not empowering at all. What if this is a foot in the door to implementing the same thing here? If it is, I’d invite her and her entourage (Mark Green of USAID, David Bohigian of Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and Kristalina Georgieva of the World Bank Group) to GTFOH.
Read more Politics