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Ivanka Trump may be the wrong messenger, but she’s right about family leave

Ivanka Trump can’t relate to most working women.

Ivanka Trump has been an influential adviser to

Ivanka Trump has been an influential adviser to her father, President Donald Trump. Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

Ivanka Trump can’t relate to most working women.

And while she spoke about increasing female presence in different parts of the work force in an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Monday, criticism of her new book and her version of white, privileged feminism proves that she’s just not like most women. Ivanka will always be a woman whose DNA gave her wealth and opportunity. But that doesn’t mean she can’t further feminist policies.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget includes a $25 billion family leave program — a policy Ivanka has stumped for since her father clinched the GOP presidential nomination. Paid leave has been a key issue for Democrats and most women groups for years, and it’s time for liberal coalitions to answer a question: If you like the message, can you stomach the messenger?

Different female coalitions have long sparred over the term “feminism.” To some, the term is an attack on traditional values. To others, it’s a portrait of courage in breaking glass ceilings, and leaving aprons and demure voices behind. But regardless of what type of feminism women in either party subscribe to, labeling Ivanka as either a feminist or anti-feminist does nothing to further female-focused policy.

The United States is the only developed country to not mandate companies to offer some kind of paid family leave. Currently, we’re still acting under the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave. That’s well below the United Nation’s call for a minimum of 14-week paid maternity leave for working women.

While the Trump administration’s current plan only calls for six weeks of paid leave, it’s a start. It’s more than we have now, and if Ivanka Trump — privileged feminism and all — is the messenger that can get the Republican Party to act on this issue, liberal women shouldn’t stand in her way.

Melissa Holzberg is an intern with Newsday Opinion.


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