Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Ivanka Trump, the daughter and senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, delivers the keynote address at Global Women's Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 16, 2020.

Kamran Jebreili/The Associated Press

Ivanka Trump lauded on Sunday a handful of Mideast countries, including close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for embarking on “significant reforms” to advance women’s rights, while speaking at a gathering of women entrepreneurs and regional leaders in Dubai.

The daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump was delivering the keynote address at the two-day Global Women’s Forum held in an opulent resort overlooking the city’s Persian Gulf coastline.

“We know that when women are free to succeed, families thrive, communities flourish and nations are stronger,” Ms. Trump said.

Story continues below advertisement

Her comments throughout the speech drew applause, particularly when she praised Saudi Arabia. Despite reforms there, women’s rights activists and other campaigners are imprisoned and facing trial on vague charges related to national security.

The theme of the forum in Dubai was “The Power of Influence.” It was an apt theme for Ms. Trump, whose loyalty and support for her father’s presidency saw her and husband Jared Kushner take up formal roles in the White House as presidential advisers.

The 38-year-old mother of three has positioned herself as an Oval Office confidante while spearheading initiatives that broadly back women’s empowerment. Her husband has become a top adviser on U.S. Mideast policy.

Once the owner of an eponymous fashion line, Ivanka Trump has wielded her proximity to the President to promote policies affecting women and deliver speeches around the world about women’s economic empowerment. She meets with world leaders as a key White House official. Some of her efforts even have some bipartisan support in Washington, standing in sharp contrast to the level of controversy and political division surrounding her father’s presidency.

In her keynote speech at the women’s forum in Dubai on Sunday, Ms. Trump touted what she said was the progress of women in the United States.

“Today, American women are leading in every aspect of society. Last year, there were more women than men in the United States work force, with women securing over 70 per cent of new jobs,” she said in her address.

Ms. Trump made no mention, however, of legislative obstacles in the U.S. around paid family leave, which she and the U.S president support. Currently, just a few U.S. states offer paid leave.

Story continues below advertisement

During her speech in Dubai, Ms. Trump congratulated Saudi Arabia for recent changes in the law that allow women to travel abroad and obtain a passport without the permission of a male relative. In 2018, a ban on women driving cars was lifted. The changes are part of a wide-ranging push to transform the Saudi economy, attract greater foreign investment and ease international criticism.

Ms. Trump pointed to changes in other Mideast countries, as well. She said Bahrain had introduced legislation against discrimination in the workplace; Jordan had eliminated legal restrictions on women’s ability to work at night; Morocco had expanded women’s land rights; and Tunisia had introduced laws to combat domestic violence.

She said, though, more work needed to be done. She noted that across the region, women on average still have only half the legal rights of men.

The audience for her speech in the UAE included Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, World Bank president David Malpass and International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva.

The Dubai ruler is wildly popular at home and is seen as a modernizing force. He has, however, faced some criticism abroad concerning women’s rights following reports that one of his daughters tried to flee the country and was forcibly returned. In previous years, Jordanian Princess Haya, with whom Sheikh Mohammed has two children, would have attended a forum of this kind by his side, but she too has reportedly fled the country and is seeking custody of their children in a British court.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have worked to cultivate close ties with the Trump administration and were early supporters of the Women’s Empowerment Fund, a World Bank initiative to help female entrepreneurs that Ivanka Trump strongly backs. During the first trip abroad of her father’s presidency to Saudi Arabia, the two Gulf countries pledged US$100-million to the fund.

Story continues below advertisement

In her speech at Sunday’s forum, Ms. Trump commended Emirati leaders for “removing barriers to women joining the work force and developing a national strategy that recognizes that women are central to sustainable growth.”

She noted that although 70 per cent of Emirati university graduates are women, only 10 per cent of the UAE’s total national income is derived from women.

“We know that this is going to grow and flourish in the years ahead,” she said.

During her two-day visit to the UAE, Ms. Trump met with women entrepreneurs and discussed a U.S. government project she’s leading that’s aimed at helping women in developing countries. The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative was launched last year with backing by her father.

On Saturday, she toured Abu Dhabi’s grand mosque, visited Abu Dhabi’s branch of the Louvre Museum, and met privately with the country’s day-to-day ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies