Ivanka is encouraged by Saudia Arabia’s “progress”

Princess Ivanka is doing her bit to patronize the people of Saudi Arabia, a Lady Catherine de Bourgh in stilettos.

Ivanka Trump brought her message of female empowerment Sunday to the world’s most repressive society for women, a place where women are not allowed to drive, must cover themselves from head to toe in public and require permission from a “male guardian” to travel outside their homes.

What “message of female empowerment”? Certainly not the one that says women should not have to deal with men grabbing them by the pussy and bragging about it to their bros. Certainly not the one that says powerful men who publicly call women names are misogynist shits. Certainly not the one that defends abortion rights. Princess Ivanka is a marketer of sorts, who uses her father’s notoriety to boost her mediocre merch. That’s it, that’s all there is to her. “Be the daughter of a rich con man” – that’s not a very empowering message.

“In every country, including the United States, women and girls face challenges,” Trump told a small group of accomplished Saudi women gathered for a dialogue with her about how to build on their successes. “Saudi Arabia’s progress, especially in recent years, is very encouraging,” she said, “but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Saudi Arabia’s “progress” is not the least bit encouraging. She should never say such things.

In her meeting with the women, Ivanka Trump described herself as a “female leader within the Trump administration” and said her focus was “to help empower women in the United States and around the globe.”

Leader of what, to what? Leading to ever-greater heights of ethics violations and nepotism?

Throughout the president’s two-day visit to the kingdom, neither he nor any other U.S. official has publicly mentioned human rights here, although he briefly mentioned women’s empowerment in his keynote speech to Muslim leaders Sunday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a Saturday news conference, did not respond to a question about whether human rights was raised in private talks.

Yeah. They don’t care. They’re in it for the money; that’s all they know.

Trump’s message did not appear to resonate with at least some Saudi women.

“All the women that Ivanka Trump met have a guardian,” said Aziza al-Yousef, a 58-year-old Saudi activist who has campaigned to abolish the guardianship rules. A retired computer science professor at King Saud University, she was recently rebuffed when she tried to deliver to the government a 14,700-signature petition on eliminating the guardian system.

“All these achievements depend on whether you’re lucky to be born in a family where your guardian will be understanding, will help you,” Yousef said. “If Ivanka is interested in women empowerment and human rights, she should see activists, and not just officials.”

But Ivanka is not interested in that. Ivanka is an empty suit.

“It’s not about Ivanka speaking at the meeting,” said activist Loujain al-Hathloul, “but is it actually useful for these women from Saudi Arabia to speak as well? Is their contribution in such events helpful to us Saudi women in general, not princesses or business owners or rich women? Does it actually help us? I doubt it.

“For instance, Princess Reema has her own business; she’s hiring a lot of Saudi women,” Hathloul said. “Thank you for this.” But as a member of the global advisory board for Uber, “she hasn’t pushed for women to drive,” the activist said.

Hathloul, 27, was jailed in 2014 for daring to drive in Saudi Arabia, an event she chronicled on social media. “I haven’t tried since then,” she said, noting that she has a Persian Gulf-wide license that allows her to drive in every other country on the Arabian Peninsula.

“My issue with these events,” she said of Ivanka Trump’s discussion, “is that they show these women as powerful and making an impact, making a change. But in real life, they’ve been given these opportunities by the men. They did not fight for them.”

Exactly. Ivanka Trump is the opposite of “empowering.” She’s more like enweakening.

Comments are closed.