The title of Ivanka Trump’s new book “Women Who Work” demonstrates that she is not aware what the feminist movement is all about. And I would love to ask her, who are the women who do not work?
Housewives who care for their kids, husbands and parents, and cook, wash, and clean their homes? Or female refugees who sit in camps and wait for peace? Women who are suffering from a chronic disease and cannot go to work? Women with disabilities who are unable to find a job? Single mothers who depend on social welfare because they cannot work a full-time job and afford a nanny from the global South?
Wouldn’t it be a nice first step if Ivanka started to pay her interns, before she is telling other women how they can lead successful lives? Or if she improves the working conditions in the factories that produce her fashion items?
And wouldn’t it be nice if the Trumps stopped pretending that rags can become riches?
I regularly visit an Afghan family who fled to Austria in 2015. During my last visit, I taught the mother (she has seven kids) new German words used to describe jobs and work. In the end, I asked her about her own work.
She said, “I am a housewife.”
Then I asked her, “When do you work?”
The textbook offered four possible answers: “on weekdays”, “at the weekend”, “at daytime”, and “at night.”
She smiled, and replied to me: “I always work.”
I agreed, and taught her how to spell the word “immer” (always) in German.
This wonderful woman from Afghanistan who never signed a job contract knows a lot more about the emancipation of women than Ivanka ever will.