The First Daughter and adviser to the president has been graded—and her advocacy impact isn't looking too hot.
Photo: Getty Images/Sean Gallup
Ivanka Trump's advocacy report card is in, and it probably won't make the door of the White House fridge. The Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal nonprofit advocacy and research organization founded by John Podesta in 2003, gave her advocacy work concerning women's issues an "F," reports The Cut.
According to the CAP report, Ivanka Trump's lack of "real-world understanding of women's lives" and support of rolling back legislative progress on equal pay since joining her father's administration as an advisor to the president has created "virtually no tangible progress" on the issues she's publicly promised to advocate for. The result is a failing grade.
So how exactly was her advocacy work graded? Broadly, the seven authors evaluated her quantifiable impacts on women and also considered how her work may be laying the groundwork for future generations of female leaders.
Specifically, they used these factors in their methodology: 1. How well she has helped deepen public understanding on critically important issues for women and their families. 2. How well she's leveraged her power in the Trump administration to tangibly support women and families. 3. Whether or not she's fought to strengthen the federal government's enforcement of women's rights and protections. 4. Whether she's proposed or advanced concrete policy solutions that help women. 5. How she's promoted transparency and progress to further change.
Ivanka gets an F for a few reasons, according to the report. Namely, policy missteps (like her lack of support for equal pay legislation—she backed President Trump's rollback of an Obama-era policy aimed at identifying and preventing gender wage discrimination despite her supposed interest in the pay gap, according to the Washington Examiner), history of arbitrarily reducing her areas of focus, and general lack of action on her stated goals of promoting women's equality and empowerment since heading to the White House. (Beyond the pay gap issue, she's also been criticized for her father's proposed childcare policy, which, despite her pledge at the Republican convention to make childcare more affordable for all families, would only help the wealthy, reports ThinkProgress.)
Here's how a few of her CAP grades pertaining to women's health break down:
Global women's health: F
After taking office, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy (also known as the "global gag rule"), which bars all federal funding from supporting abortion care or education via women's health groups around the world. The president also cut funding for the UN Population Fund, which provides health care, reproductive health services, and maternity care to women around the world. Ivanka's silence on these issues earned her an F.
Paid family and medical leave: D- for effort, F for execution
Though she's identified paid family leave as a priority and helped raise awareness of the issue, the Trump administration's current proposal concerning paid family leave is narrow in scope and structurally weak, according to CAP. Though the administration's first budget proposal included a provision for paid family leave—attributed to Ivanka's influence—the policy would exclude many women, low-wage workers, and people of color. Why? The proposal requires states to provide six weeks of paid parental leave through the unemployment insurance system, which according to a CAP analysis, disproportionately excludes these groups.
Affordable Care Act: F
Trump's attempts to repeal ACA would leave women physically and financially vulnerable as costs and care associated with reproductive health would skyrocket. Ivanka has remained silent here.
LGBTQ equality: F
CAP points to Ivanka's social media advocacy of the LGBTQ community. She's tweeted in support of LGBTQ rights in the past, but she hasn't played a role as her father's administration rolls back federal protections that prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition to banning transgender people in the military, Trump's Department of Justice is currently arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit people from being fired based on their sexual orientation, reports Newsweek.
These grades are definitely subjective. But per the CAP's explanation of their methodology, Ivanka's sudden silence on key issues pertaining to women's health and empowerment seems to be the biggest issue keeping her off the advocacy honor roll. "She has failed to articulate a set of concrete policy solutions to address women's diverse experiences and challenges," the authors state. "So far, her work has amounted to little more than photo ops and tweets."
Part of what makes her work hard to judge is that the First Daughter's role is ill-defined. Officially, Ivanka is an "adviser" to the president (she's an unpaid employee of the White House Office), but in a recent interview with the Financial Times, she lamented her lack of influence with her dad and his policies. "Some people have created unrealistic expectations of what they expect from me. That my presence, in and of itself, would carry so much weight with my father that he would abandon his core values and the agenda that the American people voted for when they elected him," she said. "It's not going to happen."