#TimesUp is more than a slogan or a trendy hashtag that lets you do the least but still show you care. It comes out of the real pain of millions of women who don't have the access or privilege to be truly heard when they turn on their phones and type a message into the world.
Judging by her recent tweet, it seems that Ivanka Trump may not grasp the movement's monumental gravity. On Monday night, she wrote, "Just saw @Oprah's empowering and inspiring speech at last night's #GoldenGlobes." In the speech, Oprah Winfrey told powerful men who abuse women that their time is over as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award, a lifetime honour. "Let's all come together, women & men, & say #TimesUp! #United," she continued.
At this point, it's beating a dead horse to point out that Ivanka's father is a powerful man who has been accused of both sexual harassment and rape by at least a dozen women, one of whom said she was 13 when he forced himself on her at a party. It is a fact that will never go away, and that she has never meaningfully addressed.
If we're to interpret the second part of her tweet as a call to action, and it sure sounds like one, it leads us to wonder whether she plans to donate to #TimesUp or do any work around the cause. (We've reached out to her White House team to ask, and will update this story when we hear back.)
This isn't the first time Ivanka has publicly said the obvious about sexual harassment. In a speech in Tokyo in November, she said sexual harassment in the workplace should “never be tolerated.” She advocated for women's economic empowerment at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India. She also addressed the child molestation allegations against former Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, saying she believed his accusers (although she didn't call for him to exit the race, which he later lost). To the AP, she said: "There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I've yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts."
There were reports last year that Ivanka had tearfully tried to convince her father to apologise after his "grab them by the pussy" comments on Access Hollywood, which he ended up doing. “My father’s comments were clearly inappropriate and offensive and I’m glad that he acknowledged this fact with an immediate apology to my family and the American people,” she said in a statement at the time.
Ivanka has fashioned herself as the women's issues go-to in the White House. In the past year, she got a paid parental leave program into the federal budget (though it was criticised for not going far enough), helped the World Bank launch a program that aids female entrepreneurs, and got Congress to expand the child tax credit in the new tax bill, which was touted as a major win for her.
In short, what Ivanka says — and does — matters.
So what could she do to show her commitment to #TimesUp? She may never denounce her father, but she could say, "These allegations are serious and we take them seriously."
She could, and should, throw her weight behind Time's Up, the legal defence fund launched by celebrities including Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, and America Ferrera to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment across all industries challenge their attackers. An easy way to get started would be to donate a substantial sum. (We checked the organisation's GoFundMe page and haven't found an entry from Ivanka.)
But why stop at money? If Ivanka wanted to make appearances to speak on behalf of the women who are harassed and silenced every day, she has the public recognition to do so in spades. Her team could approach Witherspoon or Rhimes or Ferrera — maybe even Oprah, whom her dad adores — to work on a project together. That would arguably get Ivanka closer to where she wants to be: in the public eye as a role model praised for empowering women.
Policy-wise, she could speak up against the administration's rollbacks to Title IX campus sexual assault guidelines and the huge cuts to Violence Against Women Act programs that help vulnerable communities, just for starters. It wouldn't earn her Brownie points with other Trump policy advisers, but it would be in line with the causes she wants to champion.
It's frustrating waiting for Ivanka to come through, and tempting to stop trying. But she is uniquely positioned to be a spokesperson for women, and still admired by many despite her father's low approval ratings and other troubles. There is so much more she could say than her too-on-the-nose 140 characters (or even 280, had she taken advantage of that) could convey.
We've reached out to Ivanka's office at the White House, and will update this story when we hear back.