Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been lauded by Ivanka Trump for the progress they have made in advancing women’s rights.
The daughter of US President Donald Trump praised two of America’s main allies in the Middle East, but has remained silent over the plight of a number of female activists jailed and allegedly tortured for their opposition to the Gulf monarchies.
Delivering the keynote address at the two-day Global Women’s Forum held at an opulent resort in Dubai, Trump praised the oil-rich regional states for embarking on “significant reforms” to advance women’s rights. “We know that when women are free to succeed, families thrive, communities flourish and nations are stronger,” she said.
During her speech at the forum held under the theme “The Power of Influence”, Trump lauded the leaders of the country for “removing barriers to women joining the workforce and developing a national strategy that recognises that women are central to sustainable growth.”
While the gender disparity in the workforce was highlighted by Trump citing the fact that despite 70 per cent of Emirati graduates being women only 10 per cent of the UAE’s total national income is derived from women, she kept silent about the plight of a number of women activists rotting in prison.
In neighbouring Saudi Arabia, there have been an alleged 145 violations against women under the de facto rule of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Loujain Al-Hathloul is one of a number of Saudi women said to have been tortured by the Saudi authorities. She was reportedly electrocuted and to have suffered sexual harassment and death threats under the supervision of top government advisor Saud Al-Qahtani, who is said to have personally threatened to rape and kill her.
Al-Qahtani is the same person many believe oversaw the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by order of the Crown Prince. Al-Hathloul has rejected a proposal to secure her release from prison in exchange for a video statement denying reports that she had suffered abuse at the hands of Saudi officials.
Trump, who converted to Judaism to marry White House adviser Jared Kushner, is noted for pushing the Trump administration toward pro-Israel policies, most notably the decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.