Politics

Ivanka Trump Calls Motherhood a Woman's "Most Important Job"

October 3rd 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, is under fire again for comments made in a new video about her father's plan for paid maternity leave.

“The most important job any woman can have is being a mother,” Ivanka Trump says in the first moments of the video.

And while some women have said that being a parent is the most rewarding part of their lives, this comment in particular seems to suggest that women should bear the burden of parenting duties — reinforcing age-old gender stereotypes. On social media, many women interpreted the remarks as insulting to women who cannot have children or opt not to.

Donald Trump's plan and Ivanka's defense of it have previously faced criticism because the proposal does not include leave for fathers and LGBT parents.

Several weeks after the plan was released, the video re-ignited a discussion of the details of the Republican nominee's childcare plan and its omissions.

"Where does that leave gay fathers? Single fathers? Families with stay-at-home dads?" Rolling Stone asked in a September 14 story on Trump's maternity leave proposal.

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In a tense mid-September interview with Cosmopolitan's Prachi Gupta, Ivanka Trump evaded questions about why the plan didn't offer paternity leave or leave for LGBT families.

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From Cosmopolitan:

"In your op-ed, you mention the pay gap for women exacerbates after they bear children, and one of the reasons for that is that mothers are usually charged with child care over men. I'm wondering — and this speaks to the maternity leave aspect of the plan — paternity leave is said to be a great factor in creating gender equality. So I’m wondering, why does this policy not include any paternity leave?

This is a giant leap from where we are today, which is sadly, nothing. Both sides of the aisle have been unable to agree on this issue, so I think this takes huge advancement and obviously, for same-sex couples as well, there's tremendous benefit here to enabling the mother to recover after childbirth. It's critical for the health of the mother. It's critical for bonding with the child, and that was a top focus of this plan.

OK, so when it comes to same-sex—

So it's meant to benefit, whether it's in same-sex marriages as well, to benefit the mother who has given birth to the child if they have legal married status under the tax code.

Well, what about gay couples, where both partners are men?

The policy is fleshed out online, so you can go see all the elements of it. But the original intention of the plan is to help mothers in recovery in the immediate aftermath of childbirth.

So I just want to be clear that, for same-sex adoption, where the two parents are both men, they would not be receiving special leave for that because they don't need to recover or anything?

Well, those are your words, not mine. [Laughs.] Those are your words. The plan, right now, is focusing on mothers, whether they be in same-sex marriages or not."

Trump's plan has also attracted criticism due to its lack of specifics on how it would offer leave to single mothers, the Washington Post reports.

Ivanka Trump's comments also bring up some of her father's controversial remarks about motherhood and gender roles over the years, as Slate points out.

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In interviews from 2003 to 2007 reported by Fortune and Buzzfeed, Trump expressed quite antiquated ideas about fatherhood.

In a 2005 appearance on the "Opie and Anthony" show, the business mogul said he didn't change diapers or "act like the wife."

“There’s a lot of women out there that demand that the husband act like the wife and you know there’s a lot of husbands that listen to that," Trump said. "I’m really like a great father but certain things you do and certain things you don’t. It’s just not for me.”

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Speaking with Howard Stern in a 2005 interview, Trump asserted that his role in raising children with ex-wife Marla Maples was predominately financial.

“I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them," he said. "I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park."

Almost half of American families today have two working parents, according to a 2015 Pew survey.

Pew

Families with two full-time working parents also have higher median household incomes, according to Pew. Yet, balancing work and childcare remains challenging, the survey reports.

In order to help working parents, childcare cannot be viewed as a distinctly female job; parents of all genders need resources to balance parenting duties and advance their careers. As CNN reports, research has shown that paternity leave benefits families economically and makes fathers more involved in raising children.

You can watch the full video on YouTube and below.

[h/t the Cut]