Sexual harassment does not exist in the world of Ivanka Trump's #WomenWhoWork


Donald Trump somehow found time in his busy schedule of debasing immigrants and claiming that having “tremendous success” in real estate is a sacrifice akin to the death of a child to share his views on sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Republican presidential nominee kicked things off last week by defending former Fox News CEO and alleged serial harasser Roger Ailes as a “very, very good person” and suggesting that the women who made the allegations, which span decades, are lying opportunists.

Then USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, in an effort to coax some kind of remorse or perspective out of Donald Trump (related: lol), asked him how he would feel if it were his daughter Ivanka who had been harassed. He replied: “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”

On Tuesday, Trump’s son Eric, in the process of defending his father’s remarks, said something equally revealing about his own views on sexual harassment: “Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman,” he told Charlie Rose on on CBS This Morning. “She wouldn’t allow herself to be subjected to it.”

According to a recent survey of 2,235 working women, one in three reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. According to Donald Trump, these women should leave their jobs. According to Eric Trump, they have somehow allowed themselves to be harassed.

But what does Ivanka have to say about sexual harassment?

In her 2009 book, The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life, she recalled being sexually harassed on one of her father’s work sites and losing sleep trying to come up with a “disarming line to defuse the situation”—something, she explained, that wouldn’t make her seem like a “tightly wound witch.”

This is the advice she ultimately settled on:

[S]exual harassment is never acceptable, and we must stand against it. At the same time, we must recognize that our coworkers come in all shapes, stripes, and sizes. What might be offensive to one person might appear harmless to another. Learn to figure out when a hoot or a holler is indeed a form of harassment and when it’s merely a good natured tease that you can give back in kind.

Whether or not you find this advice to be particularly useful, Ivanka’s lifestyle brand #WomenWhoWork—which, according to the website, is meant to “inspire and empower women to create the lives they want to lead” through “powerful, practical interviews on topics including career advice and skill building, style, personal finance, parenting, wellness and beauty”—has nothing whatsoever to say about sexual harassment.

Here’s what happens when you search for “sexual harassment” on, the home of her #WomenWhoWork campaign:

Here’s what happens when you search for “harassment”:

But when you search for “discrimination,” you get three posts: a series of book recommendations from Wharton School professor and Lean In evangelist Adam Grant, a blog post on setting boundaries, and four tips from executive coach and “Entrepreneur in Residence” Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin on “fostering positive relationships in the office—and out of it.”

Cronise McLaughlin, like Donald Trump, advises changing jobs in response to discrimination (emphasis mine):

If you happen to find yourself working in an environment—or for a boss—where you are put down, insulted or discriminated against, take the advice of Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them—the first time.”
Time and again I have coached women who have experienced abuse in the workplace, and have tried to “fix” an abusive boss or otherwise internalized the idea that there was something wrong with them or their work that was causing hostility or outright discrimination. After months or years of effort, these women land on my doorstep traumatized, depleted and even physically ill.
If you are surrounded by toxic people, that toxicity will rub off on you one way or another. Your best strategy if you find yourself in this circumstance is to plot your exit, and quick. New and better company awaits you.

What’s not mentioned in any of these tips: harassment, discrimination, and abuse in the workplace is illegal. While women may choose to leave a job where they are being harassed, they also have, at least nominally, a set of legal rights and protections that can help them hold abusive employers accountable. They are fully within their legal rights to respond to harassment like, say, a “tightly wound witch.” (Representatives for Ivanka Trump and #WomenWhoWork did not respond to Fusion’s request for comment.)

In the world of Ivanka Trump’s #WomenWhoWork, there is the endless battle for “me time” in the face of a mom juggling it all. There are tips for business trips—Natura Bisse Diamond Mist ($92 for 7 oz) is “great for travel“—and a style guide for wearing spring prints to work. There are some Lean In-style tips on negotiating raises and promotions.

But sexual harassment and gender discrimination do not factor in, despite how utterly common these experiences are for women who, much like #WomenWhoWork’s target demo, “are working—hard—at all aspects of their lives.”

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