This year’s prestigious Forbes’ 100 World’s Most Powerful Women 2017 ranking features only one Trump, and much to our surprise, it’s not First Lady Melania. Since its inception back in 2004, this is the first time Forbes’ annual directory of the women who matter most on the global stage does not include the wife of an American president. However, it is the first time a First Daughter has found herself in the ranking. Yep, Ivanka Trump landed herself on the number 19 spot of Most Powerful Woman. With Ivanka playing a major role in the White House as a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, it seems Melania Trump is playing a much smaller role than previous First Ladies.
Ivanka has been advising her father since March, and has been both praised and criticised for her influence. The First Daughter is known to have more liberal views, and while it’s often questioned how much she has been able to sway her father’s policies to the left, she is one of very few women who are close to the highest office in America. “I am a real estate developer and an entrepreneur. More important, I’m a wife and a mother,” Ivanka wrote in her 2017 self-help book called Women Who Work. “I design and build iconic properties all over the world; I have also created and am growing a business that seeks to inspire and empower women in all aspects of their lives. I’m busy teaching my children the value of hard work and the importance of family.”
In fact, Ivanka Trump has been a self-proclaimed women’s rights advocate for many years. She launched the initiative Women Who Work in 2014, highlighting the lives of working women and mothers. By the time she joined the family journey the White House, she had already worked as the executive VP at the Trump Organization, and the cofounder of the family’s hotel brands. But that all changed in June 2015 when she took on a different role and introduced her father when he declared his candidacy. A little over a year later, she set the stage for him at the Republican National Convention. “My father values talent. He recognizes real knowledge and skill when he finds it. He is color blind and gender neutral. He will fight for equal pay for equal work, and I will fight for this too, right alongside of him,” she told the crowd. Since then, Ivanka has claimed women’s rights would be crucial to the Trump presidency.
Unlike step-daughter Ivanka, Melania Trump has failed to join the Most Powerful Women list as political insiders claim that she hasn’t entirely risen to the occasion just yet. The First Lady is yet to follow in the footsteps of previous First Ladies like Laura Bush, who made the list in 2004, and Michelle Obama, who earned a spot in 2009. In fact, expectations are even higher for the immigrant First Lady, considering President Trump’s stance on immigration, according to Kelly Gibson, a political consultant. “I think the role that [she] plays on the administrations’ opinions about immigration and access to what makes people successful in this country could make for very interesting conversation,” Gibson told Forbes.
Although Melania recently started addressing America’s addiction epidemic, people want to see her do more as First Lady. “This first lady has not used her position to effect the public good yet,” Kelly Gibson said. “I think the office, FLOTUS, deserves to be on the most powerful list. I don’t think [Melania Trump] has stepped up and fully realized the potential for the good she can do, but am hopeful she will.”
All eyes are on you then, Melania…