First Daughter of the United States, Ivanka Trump, is currently in the middle of a four-day diplomatic trip to Ethiopia (despite the fact she’s not a diplomat, but we digress) and already, the FDOTUS has sparked controversy with her outfit choices — like step-mother, like step-daughter.
On Monday, Ivanka met with Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde as part of the African Women’s Empowerment Dialogue and discussed the U.S. Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative. Her outfit choice raised some eyebrows when critics of the First Daughter noticed that she had opted for a floral Emilia Wickstead dress valued at $1,655 USD.
Being in politics, Ivanka should know that every item she steps out in carries significance, whether she’s aware of it or not. Considering that Ethiopia is one of the poorest nations on earth (although, that’s changing), some found it insensitive of the presidential adviser to wear such a piece to a meeting about empowering women in the Ethiopian economy.
It wasn’t necessarily just the price tag people were having trouble with, however — we’ve seen royals wear pricier things on tours — it was the hypocrisy of Ivanka Trump seemingly empowering women in a developing nation, when her fashion brand was previously outed for exploiting workers in China and Indonesia.
Wearing a $1600 dress to a famine stricken country is insensitive
— katherine koo 定平 (@katskoo) April 15, 2019
@CNNPolitics @cnnbrk @AC360 @donlemon @ChrisCuomo Ivanka did you really mean “export” or “exploit”?? I love how you continue to find ways to exploit cheap labor under the guise or an economic plan. You Trumps amaze me on your audacity…
— pbarragan (@pbarragan) April 14, 2019
Did you tell them how your clothes were made in sweat shops in China!
— sweet_emmee/Emily (@sweet_emmee) April 15, 2019
In 2017, The Guardian spoke to workers from Ivanka’s factory in Indonesia and an activist group investigating claims of worker abuse in her factory in China. In both instances, they found alleged violations of women’s rights, below minimum wage pay and other injustices such as bonuses for not taking time off to menstruate (which is sometimes impossible) and anti-union intimidation. It’s been pointed out on multiple occasions that when it comes to fighting for women, Ivanka Trump talks a good game, but is often either passively or actively harming them.
Despite the glaring hypocrisy, we really do hope that Ivanka’s trip turns out to be net positive and works to empower women in Ethiopia. And hey, at least she wasn’t wearing something blatantly offensive like another Trump we could mention.