‘Where did you go?’ How the first daughter’s family leave plan fizzled

“As a mother myself, of three young children, I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. And I also know that I’m far more fortunate than most.” Those were the words of Ivanka Trump at the 2016 Republican national convention, moments plan before her father took the stage to accept his party’s nomination for president. Standing at the podium before a crowd of thousands in Cleveland, with millions more watching across America, Ivanka touted Donald Trump as a champion of working women while vowing to fight for gender equality “right alongside of him”.

Ivanka seemed perfectly fit for the moment, speaking both from her own experience as a mother of three children and a high-profile CEO whose brand has centered on women in the workplace.

But nearly one year into the Trump administration, Ivanka’s portfolio on a host of women’s economic issues – from paid family leave to equal pay and affordable child care – remains largely devoid of policy victories. Her efforts have mainly amounted to public advocacy, seemingly far remote from her father’s agenda.

Last week, her push for an expanded child tax credit paid minor dividends during the Senate debate over tax reform. But critics said her preferred approach to the issue would largely favor wealthy Americans, while an alternative that would have enabled more working families to receive the benefit was rebuffed by Republicans in Congress.

“If her priority or her plan was to create and advance policies domestically and internationally that would advance women’s opportunity in the workplace, they haven’t come to fruition,” said Kelly Dittmar, an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University and scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics.

Leading up to the tax vote, Ivanka was in India touting paid family leave plan that would require employers to offer six weeks of paid leave for new parents. Republicans meanwhile moved toward a far narrower proposal as part of their tax legislation, effectively ignoring a White House budget blueprint released in May that adopted Ivanka’s model.

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