Ivanka Trump is refusing to be transparent about her current position at the White House but only two years ago she crafted an entire campaign encouraging women to do the opposite.
“Record yourself saying your extended job title, followed by your name and actual job title,” reads a post on her website, advertising a campaign that encourages women to state all of their roles, even the ones that extend beyond the workplace. “Post the video to your social channels and tag a few of the women who inspire you to encourage them to follow suit. Be sure to hashtag #WomenWhoWork and tag @IvankaTrump.”
The post is dated November 16, 2014, and is still the main landing page for the “Women Who Work” section of Trump’s website, an initiative she recently turned into an upcoming book that will be published as she is moving into her office in the White House.
The video for the campaign ends with Trump saying, “Let’s show the world what it is to be a woman who works.”
Turns out there are a few people wondering “what it is to be a woman who works” in the White House with no official title or job description and little experience beyond being the daughter of the president.
Given that Ivanka Trump’s campaign explicitly encouraged women to proudly disclose the multiple roles they play in the workplace, it’s ironic that Trump is refusing to explain her own role, especially when her workplace is the nation’s highest office.
Government watchdogs are demanding she provide a specific job title, as doing otherwise could violate government regulations, but it hasn’t stopped the White House from moving forward with its plan to give her a vague, “unofficial” position that, as Vox’s Libby Nelson points out, seems official in all but name.
The first daughter has been given an office, a government phone, and security clearance to see classified materials, but somehow not a title explaining what exactly she is doing there. Her lawyer claims she will personally respect all the rules that apply to government employees, but ethics experts are concerned that because she isn’t serving in an official capacity, she’s not legally bound to do so. In other words, Ivanka Trump promising to follow the rules is sort of like me promising to audit a class. It could totally happen, but it also very well could not, because nothing bad would happen to me if I didn’t.
And if as some have suggested, Ivanka’s White House role is to act as a “babysitter” for the president, to smooth over his worst tendencies, it’s all the more reason for her to be transparent about what she’s doing. Trump’s brand emphasizes empowering women at work, and there is nothing feminist about a woman stepping in to do all the work with no credit or pay. As Sady Doyle writes at Elle, “this dynamic — the theatrical, unreliable, charismatic man soaking up the credit, and the competent, detail-oriented woman plugging away in the background and compensating for his personality problems — is hardly unfamiliar.” If Trump truly wants to preserve her commitment to the cause she supposedly takes the most pride in, she would disclose what her own work entails.
So let’s encourage Ivanka to follow her own advice. She asked women to share their titles on social media, and now she should do the same. Hopefully she remembers to use the hashtag #WomenWhoWork and tag @TheRealDonaldTrump.