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Ivanka Trump just announced another global empowerment initiative, but will it actually help women?

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Christobel Hastings
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Ivanka Trump

Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, who serves as a senior adviser in the US administration, has introduced a promising new initiative aimed at getting more women involved in global conflict resolutions. But will the new policy actually empower women, or is it simply a political show? 

Ivanka Trump has been on something of a mission when it comes to female empowerment over the last three years, even as she’s faced criticism for being complicit in her father’s rollbacks on protections for women and marginalised groups.

Last year, President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter helped start a World Bank Fund to help support female entrepreneurs in developing countries, while earlier in February, she unveiled the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative that will seek to bring economic security to 50 million women around the world by 2025. 

Now, the First daughter is bringing another equality measure into play. 

In a roundtable discussion with politicians at Capitol Hill earlier this week, Ivanks spearheaded a new women’s empowerment initiative, called the National Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security, aimed at getting more women involved in global peace efforts.

The White House senior adviser on economic empowerment cited a United Nations report that showed women made up just 2% of mediators, 8% of negotiators and 5% of witnesses and signatories in major peace talks from 1990-2017.

In the roundtable, which included a mix of lawmakers from both parties, including Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Republicans Sen. Jim Risch, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Ivanka argued that giving women more seats at the table led to a more effective resolution of tensions.

In a statement, Ivanka explained that the new initiative “recognizes that women’s participation and empowerment are essential to good defense policy, conflict resolution, and post-conflict peace-building efforts.”

And while the premise of the policy sounds encouraging, details, as ever, seem hazy. The strategy was described as both a matter of social justice and national security, and will push development agencies to involve more women in critical negotiations around global conflict resolution.

The US administration had already set the initiative in motion, Ivanka also explained, hiring a Director of International Organizations to work on the strategy from the National Security Council, with a progress report to be released in the next 90 days.

“We’re now the first country in the world that requires women to be at the table when negotiating peace agreements and mediations,” Trump said in an interview with Cheddar.

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By all accounts, lawmakers seem cautiously optimistic about the discussion. “The prioritization of women across the United States’ security structures and diplomatic efforts is fundamental to preventing conflict and forging a durable peace worldwide,” Sen. Shaheen said in the statement. “We need female representation on the world stage to accurately reflect the makeup of communities directly impacted by violence and armed conflict.”

But the jury is still out on whether Ivanka’s new initiative will be effectively implemented, and more importantly, deliver a transformation for women and societies in developing countries, or whether she is simply paying lip service to the importance of empowering women to bolster the reputation of her father’s divisive administration.

Meanwhile, no attention should be diverted from the fact that the US government’s stringent anti-abortion policies, which have withdrawn aid from “any foreign-based organization that performs, promotes or offers information on abortion,” have already endangered women’s lives in Africa and South Asia. 

Image; Getty

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