Ivanka Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, during an event for military spouses to discuss the problems they face with employment, as part of “American Dream Week.” (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Top News

Harassment of women at work cannot be tolerated, Ivanka Trump said addressing the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo on Friday. “All too often, our workplace culture fails to treat women with appropriate respect. This takes many forms including harassment which can never be tolerated,” said Ivanka. Her statement comes in the backdrop of sexual harassment charges made against a host of prominent men in Hollywood starting with one of its most powerful producers Harvey Weinstein.

Two days ahead of United States President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan, his daughter and senior advisor Ivanka visited the Japanese capital to speak at the annual World Assembly for Women organised by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration.

She said, “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.” Pointing out how men are never referred to as “working men”, she said, “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 fulfil her unique potentials.”

Ivanka said that at present an estimated 49 per cent of women across the world participate in the global workforce and if women close the gap with men in all aspects of work in society it would add trillions to the annual global GDP over the next decade.

“Across the world, there are laws that prevent women from fully participating their economy. In some countries women not allowed to own property, travel freely or work outside the homes without the consent of their husbands,” she said. Ivanka added that this is the reason why at the recent G20 summit, the US and Japan were founding members of a Women’s Entrepreneur Finance Initiative to finance initiatives by women in developing countries.

Shinzo Abe, who was sworn in for his second term as the Prime Minister of Japan this Wednesday, said that Japan has pledged US$50 million to the global initiative. Talking about his administration’s efforts at encouraging more women to join the workforce in ‘male-centered Japanese society’, he said, “’Womenomics’ has become a major force to drive economic growth in our country. Japan has changed. So, the world can be changed as well.”

Talking of the extra burden of unpaid work on women, Ivanka said that she too experiences “the struggles of balancing the competing demands of work and family” adding that she is “far fortunate than others”. “In the United States, single women without children make 95 cents for each dollar earned by a man, married mothers make only 81 cents. Too many women in the United States are forced to leave the workforce when they have a child,” she said, adding that “integrating and empowering women is not just good corporate policy, it’s good business.”

According to the Global Gender Gap Index (2017) released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Thursday, at the current rate of progress, the overall global gender gap can be closed only in a hundred years. The economic gap will take the longest to close — 217 years.

The correspondent is in Tokyo to cover the World Assembly for Women at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan

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