Ivanka Trump has made motherhood a huge part of her brand since becoming part of the first family. She has drawn the public eye away from her controversial political life by filling her social media feeds with trips to the park and afternoons spent baking cookies. She’s pressed her father, President Trump, on maternity and paternity leave laws and has tried to change public opinion that the President is, in fact, a “tremendous champion of supporting families.” She’s also the name, face, and founder of a clothing company whose workers make so little money they live hours away from their children, and who labor in factories accused of violating of women’s rights.
It was bad enough when three men investigating working conditions at the Chinese factories that manufacture Ivanka Trump brand clothing disappeared. Now, attention has been called to similarly dismal conditions at her company’s Indonesian factories. The Guardian reports that women can receive bonuses for coming in to work even when they’re menstruating — no small act of dedication in a country where tampons are taboo, and poverty prevents women from affording sanitary napkins and other menstrual aids. Pay at the Subang factory is some of the lowest in all of Asia and overtime is essentially unheard of.
The Guardian interviewed one worker who describes life at PT Buma Apparel Industry. She makes just $173 a month, an amount so low that her two children live with their grandmother in another town several hours away. She and her husband see their children once a month at best, “when they can afford the gasoline.” Other workers explain how the numbers are fudged on their time cards and quotas to hide longer hours, as well as verbal abuse from managers.
Of course, Ivanka stepped down from active leadership of the clothing label that bears her name, but the irony remains that the Women Who Work author is the saleable face of such deplorable working conditions in a predominantly Muslim country. The workers, mostly women, who make Ivanka-branded shoes and dresses are the same who would face extra scrutiny if they were to try and pass through U.S. customs officials, despite the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down President Trump’s travel ban yesterday. So much for family values.
(Via The Guardian)