First on CNN: Ivanka Trump nods to 'womenomics' in Japan
Posted November 2, 2017 11:17 a.m. EDT
Updated November 2, 2017 10:03 p.m. EDT
TOKYO (CNN) — Ivanka Trump arrived in Tokyo Thursday for a very brief trip to speak about women's participation in the economy at the World Assembly of Women, an annual conference sponsored by the Japanese government.
Trump, who attended the event at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, was introduced by the Prime Minister on Friday morning, signaling Japan's interest in developing relationships with the Trump administration.
Her speech nodded to the host country. She spoke about women in Japan who have inspired her, praised Abe's paid family leave policy, and also referenced Abe's "womenomics" movement, which has implemented policies for increased women's participation to achieve economic growth.
"This is my first visit to Japan, and the warmth you have shown us, the beauty of your landscape, and the vibrancy of your culture are truly incredible gifts to all who come to this country," she said. "Yesterday evening as I arrived in Tokyo, I was struck by the magnificence of the skyline. And this morning, I was awed by the ancient beauty of the Imperial Palace. The wonders of this land are a testament to the creativity and the resilience of the Japanese people."
Traveling on a 14-hour commercial flight from Washington, she was met at the gate by Ambassador William Hagerty and his wife, Chrissy. A large assembly of local media greeted a sunglasses-clad Trump, cameras flashing, as she came down the elevator at Narita International Airport. Joined by staff, Trump ate a traditional Kaiseki dinner in Tokyo Thursday evening. Trump's visit was front page on one local newspaper Friday morning, her father's upcoming stay also front and center.
Trump said US and Japanese societies are at a "critical juncture" with the opportunity to fully empower working women.
"Today we are redefining success, we are discarding the old formula of the ideal woman, the ideal worker, the ideal mother. We are helping to shape a more realistic and complete picture of what it is to be a woman who thrives and who helps her business, her community and family do the same. The fact is, all women are working women, whether they make the commute each morning or spend the day with their children at home, or some combination of both," Trump said, adding, "We don't label men 'working men,' and it is my hope that by the time my daughter Arabella grows into a woman, she will not be defined by whether she works inside or outside the home. She will simply be a woman afforded the same opportunities as her male peers and equipped with the education and support she needs to fulfill her unique potential. This is how I believe we will empower women, and in so doing, enable them to raise confident, empathetic and ambitious sons and daughters."
Trump laid out "four fundamental changes that will propel women into the future" of the global economy, highlighting the real estate developer turned entrepreneur turned senior adviser to the president's work in the West Wing.
Trump urged business and government leaders to "pave the way in modernizing the workplace" noting that workplace policies must "mirror our values" of work and family.
That includes treating women with respect in the workplace, she said.
"All too often, our workplace culture fails to treat women with appropriate respect. This takes many forms, including harassment, which can never be tolerated," she said.
She called for "public policies that address the composition of our modern workforce," noting the administration's current push on tax reform. She said the administration is "deeply committed" to working with bipartisan members of Congress on paid family leave, acknowledging that "we know this will take time (in the US)."
She also spoke about workforce development and women's participation in STEM fields, something that's also been a priority for her West Wing portfolio.
The Friday speech also addressed a broader message of empowering women in countries that prevent them from leading.
"Countries like the United States and Japan cannot be complacent. We must continue to champion reforms in our own countries while also empowering women in restricted economies," she said, noting the US and Japan's involvement with the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, a World Bank facility she spearheaded.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are also Japan-bound, though the first daughter is expected to depart over the weekend. The President will travel to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, as well.
Ivanka Trump had planned to travel with the presidential delegation, which includes her husband, Jared Kushner, from Tokyo to Seoul and Beijing but canceled her meetings to return to the US, where she will continue her ongoing pitch on tax reform. While the President is in Asia, Trump is expected to spend next week visiting key House districts, meeting with lawmakers and making media appearances on the subject of tax reform and the child tax credit.