It was never really a question that President Donald Trump's daughter would hold a strong influence over her father's administration, but now, it's official. But now that she's a White House employee, will Ivanka Trump help mothers in her new role? The businesswoman has long promoted herself as an advocate for women, and many have characterized her as a calming influence on her father, able to rein him in when needed. Might she be able to rein in his policies, as well? And would she even want to?
Ivanka's new, vague, untitled role in the White House doesn't appear to change anything as far as her duties or influence are concerned; we saw her meeting with prime ministers both before and after the election, creating an uproar with the meme-worthy photo ops they provided. She already had an office in the White House, and was attempting to obtain security clearance before she switched from an "informal adviser" to an "unpaid employee" of her father. The only difference seems to be that now, she'll have to fill out financial disclosure forms and abide by ethics rules that prevent her from using her position for financial gain, though how strictly those rules will be applied remains to be seen.
Ivanka has not divested from her interests, and instead transferred control to her brother-in-law, Josh Kushner, according to Forbes. Questionable as that might be, it's the same strategy employed by her father, and nobody has been able to stop him. And she'll likely be able to promote her brand while in office, as Kellyanne Conway famously did in February, because the only power the Office of Government Ethics has is to recommend discipline, not actually dole it out, and the White House is free to blow off said recommendations.
Examining Ivanka's history with women and mothers reveals a lot of talk, if not action. Through her lifestyle brand, she created an "inspirational" hashtag for working women. During the campaign, she spoke often about the need for a change in U.S. maternity leave policy — remember "Daddy, daddy, we have to do this"? — but her track record on maternity leave within her own company is spotty, and her father's plan to pay only women who gave birth by using unemployment benefits was panned as sexist, heteronormative, anti-adoption, and financially unsustainable. However, it looks like she's trying to figure out a better plan, so there's hope. Romper has reached out to the White House regarding the maternity leave plan.
Ivanka has also publicly advocated for affordable child care, but her father's plan for that — offering a tax deduction for parents — would largely benefit only the rich, and would be of little to no help for working-class and stay-at-home parents. Perhaps she'll try to sort that out, as well. Or perhaps she doesn't think her father needs to change anything; just over a year ago, she described him to Town & Country as a feminist and "one of the great advocates for women." Of course, in that same interview, she also said that she held no role in her father's campaign, and "would never even contemplate" a political career, so take that with a grain of salt.