Ivanka Trump’s dress wows but her thrust on Women First rings hollow: dressmakers of her clothing line work in sweatshops
Is Ivanka Trump an ambassador for women’s progress when her own fashion business has been in the limelight for the extreme conditions in which women labourers, especially from India, work.
Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s first daughter and presidential advisor, looked glorious in her beautiful green floral dress while inaugurating the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 at Hyderabad today, where she hoped to make an impression as a glowing example of ‘Women First, but is she really that ambassador for women’s progress as made out?
A Washington Post report pointed out the irony of someone like Ivanka pushing the GES 2017 theme of ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’ when her own fashion business has been in the limelight for the extreme conditions in which women labourers, especially from India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh work to produce the Trump line of boots, bags, overcoats and the like.
Although Ivanka’s advocacy for women’s rights has become the pitch of her public and political profile, the report quotes various statistics and facts gathered from industry reports that prove that her brand relies solely on foreign workers to produce its goods and lags behind many in the clothing industry when it comes to overseeing the treatment of workers in its supply chain.
Since Ivanka began working in the official capacity as her father Donald Trump’s advisor, who has been stressing on ‘America First’, she has detached herself from the everyday business of her fashion line, which employs labour outside the US, and continues merely as the owner.
In India, the garment industry’s 45 million workers — most of whom are women — are paid extremely low wages and work in dangerous conditions. A 2016 report revealed that violence, intimidation, unwanted sexual attention, being forced to watch pornography, being punched, choked and burnt are part of the daily abuse faced by women employees in Bengaluru’s 1,200 garment factories which supply many global brands.
“If Ivanka truly wants her legacy to include protecting working women, she needs to start with the women in her supply chain,” Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labour Rights Forum was quoted as saying by the WaPo report.
For a woman who has not answered several questions about her the manufacturing process of her own brand of clothes, Ivanka spoke at the summit’s plenary session, “Be the Change: Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership,” and will appear the following day for a session titled, “We Can Do It! Innovations in Workforce Development and Skills Training.”