Ivanka Trump touched down in Berlin Tuesday armed with an op-ed written by herself and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim in today’s Financial Times arguing “investment in women unleashes global economic gains.” The first daughter and presidential adviser was in the German capital to further address the empowerment of women at the Women20 Summit.
Talking about “Scaling Up Women’s Entrepreneurship,” she joined a panel of big-time “influencers” the likes of whom included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Canadian minister of foreign affairs Chrystia Freeland, Bank of America vice chairman Anne Finucane, BRCK’s Juliana Rotich and Trumpf president and chairwoman Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller. The ensuing 90 minutes of talk weren’t only smart, informed and thoughtful, but often personal and funny, the chancellor included.
Dressed in a long, floral wrap dress in a black, gray and white print, Trump was by no means the most “femme” of the lot, Queen Máxima showing more leg in a white dress splashed with bright blooms. But when asked who considered themselves a feminist, Trump’s hand was one of the first to shoot up. Merkel and Queen Máxima were more reluctant, but when the queen later commented that “if wanting women to have more opportunities makes me a feminist, then yes, I am,” Merkel joined the ranks too.
Pushed to define what a first daughter does, Trump acknowledged that she was still “unfamiliar with this role. I’m listening, learning and defining ways to make an impact, and the aim is to bring information and learning back [to the White House] from meetings such as this.”
Her comments touched on policy; her father’s encouraging and enabling role in her development as an entrepreneur; the existing “digital gender divide,” and the ensuing need to engage young women at an earlier age with the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics); the crucial role of mentors; women’s lack of access to credit and markets; the need for a culture of communication “where we can respectfully disagree,” and the over-proportional costs of childcare in the U.S.
“The problems are identifiable, we know what they look like and they’re similar across the globe in differing severity,” she remarked. “But the solutions will differ. There’s no one-size-fits-all.”