By Ryan Velez
During the lead up to Donald Trump’s election as well as his presidency, two of his closest allies have been his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. One of Ivanka’s signature issues in the Trump White House has been trying to support women in the workplace, but a Huffington Post story calls into question whether she truly practices what she preaches in business.
Part of Ivanka’s platform includes the first proposed federal paid leave policy as well as encouragement for work-life balance. The Guardian recently went to a factory in Subang, Indonesia, that produces Ivanka Trump-branded clothes. Here, the employees make so little they are unable to live with their children. To give a little perspective, employees make the equivalent of $173 a month, the lowest legal minimum wage possible in the entire country. One worker shared the story of living an hours-long drive from her children and only getting to see them once a month.
“When Alia was told the gist of Ivanka Trump’s new book on women in the workplace, she burst out laughing,” The Guardian reported. “Her idea of work-life balance, she said, would be if she could see her children more than once a month.”
According to The Guardian’s data, three quarters of roughly 2,500 non-union workers at the factory are women. Many of these women dedicate the bulk of their wages to children who they are not able to live with due to financial and distance concerns. The factory offers three months paid maternity leave, along with an extra $10.50 a month if they don’t take a day off for their menstrual periods. This paints a picture of many of the workers in the factory: not necessarily outright abused but living circumstances miles from the picture of “women who work” that Ivanka paints.
Technically, Ivanka’s capacity as senior advisor means that she has stepped down from running her fashion label, but at the end of the day, these clothes still bear her name, and it is a poor reflection on her platform what the people who make them go through. “Sure, I’m proud to make clothes for a well-known brand,” one warehouse worker told The Guardian. “But because I see the price tags, I have to wonder, can’t they pay us a bit more?”