Ivanka Wants To Help 'Women Who Work'. They Say Dad Trump Makes Job Tough

Ivanka Wants To Help 'Women Who Work'. They Say Dad Trump Makes Job Tough

US First Daughter Ivanka Trump's book 'Women Who Work' releases next week.

Ivanka Trump is taking her first crack at diplomacy abroad in her new role, speaking Tuesday at an economic conference in Berlin about boosting female entrepreneurs.

The First Daughter, who moved into her own West Wing office last month, advocated for gender equality during the campaign and is now working to reform the nation's child-care system. Her Germany appearance comes a week before the release of her advice book, "Women Who Work."

"From a global standpoint, female entrepreneurs are further disadvantaged by legislation impeding women's economic opportunities," Ivanka Trump co-wrote in a column Monday for the Financial Times, "restricting them from certain professions, preventing them from travelling, and constraining their ability to inherit or own land."

But female entrepreneurs in the United States say the White House is making their jobs even harder.

Women-owned businesses tend to face a disadvantage when it comes to expanding into foreign markets - and experts say Trump's talk on trade and immigration has made it harder for them to pursue international opportunities.

The president has threatened, for example, to slap steep tariffs on goods from China and Mexico. He has asked for a review of the high-skilled worker visa, which tech companies rely on for talent. His travel ban on people from predominantly Muslim nations risked straining relations with Middle Eastern countries and America's democratic allies.

All of this can impede an entrepreneur's step into internationalization, or the act of growing beyond the American border, said Nathalie Molina Nino, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Brava, a holding company that bankrolls women-benefiting startups.

"Women are at a particular disadvantage," Molina Nino said, "because unlike large, well-funded companies, women-owned businesses are less equipped to throw money at issues like this."
ivanka trump women summit

Ivanka Trump, Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel at a women's empowerment summit.

Advancing into foreign markets is expensive, she said. Entrepreneurs need cash for shipping, research, travel and hiring more employees. Consulting experts to keep up with today's unpredictable business climate adds to the cost. And female entrepreneurs, Molina Nino noted, generally have less spending power.

Venture capitalists poured $58.2 billion into companies with male founders last year, while women received a comparatively measly $1.46 billion, according to data from the venture capital database PitchBook. (Less than 10 percent of VC-funded startups are run by women, according to the Harvard Business Review, and women-owned firms comprise 38 percent of the business population.)

Still, female entrepreneurs in the United States are better off than those in most other countries, studies find.

This year, Mastercard's Index of Women Entrepreneurs put the United States in third place for female entrepreneurs, behind New Zealand and Canada.

The authors, however, highlighted a persistent challenge: "In the United States where the underlying entrepreneurial conditions and women's advancement outcomes are among the best in the world," they wrote, "women's entrepreneurial advancement is held back by the lack of internationalization opportunities."

Fiona Murray, the associate dean of innovation at MIT's Sloan School of Management, said the uncertainty clouding international relations, driven by Trump's "America first" rhetoric, could exacerbate the problem. She pointed to Trump's executive order last week calling for a review of the H1-B visas for highly skilled workers.

"That makes it difficult for any entrepreneur to think about an appropriate internationalization strategies," Murray said. "Can you hire the people you need to hire? They need highly specialized talent, and that talent comes from all over the world."

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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