Forbes’ 100 World’s Most Powerful Women 2017 ranking features only one Trump—and it’s not the First Lady. Since its inception in 2004, this is the first time our annual directory of the women who matter most on the global stage does not include the wife of the U.S. president. It is also the only time a First Daughter has found herself in the ranking: Ivanka Trump lands as the No. 19 Most Powerful Woman. As Ivanka—a senior advisor to President Donald Trump —has risen as a weighty voice in the White House, Melania Trump appears to have assumed a far quieter role.
Officially advising her father since March, Ivanka has been both praised and criticized for her influence in the Trump Administration. The First Daughter (and wife of Jared Kushner, also a senior advisor to the president) is known to have more liberal views than 45. While it’s widely contested how much she has been able to tip her father’s policies to the left, she is one of the few women who are close to the highest office in the country.
“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.”
As the founder of her eponymous retail brand, Ivanka Trump has been a self-proclaimed women’s rights advocate long before her role at the White House. She launched the initiative Women Who Work in 2014 (a precursor to her 2017 book), highlighting the lives of working American women and mothers. By the time she joined the family quest to the ultimate frontier; the White House, she had already taken the reins of the family business as the executive VP at the Trump Organization, and the cofounder of Trump Hotels and their more affordable hotel line, Scion. In June 2015, however, she took on a different role and introduced her father when he declared his candidacy in New York City. 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,” the soon-to-be first daughter said as she addressed 50,000 people in Cleveland, “he will fight for equal pay for equal work, and I will fight for this too, right alongside of him.” Since her father announced he would pursue a ticket to the White House, Ivanka has claimed women’s rights would be central to the Trump presidency—even after the Washington Post released an Access Hollywood tape from 2005 which revealed Trump’s lewd remarks about women.
Whether the extent of Ivanka’s influence has been what many have anticipated remains unclear, however. Ivanka, who identifies herself as a political independent, joined congressional Republicans like Marco Rubio in October to call for an increase in the child tax credit, one of her projects under her father’s presidency. She also spearheaded a memorandum in September that set aside at least $200 million to prioritize teaching coding in U.S. schools, especially for girls and minorities.
Yet, the senior advisor has also been widely scrutinized, especially by those who thought she would challenge some of her father’s social views. In July—a month after Ivanka declared her support for the LGBTQ community—many took to Twitter to criticize her lack of apparent response to Trump’s proposed ban on transgender individuals serving in the army. “I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy,” she had tweeted during the NYC Pride Week.
In the first months of his presidency, Trump also took a lot of heat for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, for extending the “global gag rule,” and for not immediately denouncing neo-Nazis and the KKK after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, causing Ivanka to be depicted as “complicit,” especially by those who disapprove of the current trajectory of the Trump presidency.
“If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact then I’m complicit,” the advisor told CBS This Morning in April. “I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing.”
“The musical Hamilton showed us that it matters to be in the ‘room where it happens.’ Ivanka wants everyone to know she was in the room, but was not responsible for whatever happens,” said Andrea Purse, former White House communications staffer during the Obama Administration. “On issue after issue—on climate, LGBT issues, ‘women’s’ issues that she claims to care about, she has failed to deliver when it mattered most.”
In August, Ivanka was under heavy fire again due to her support for the halt of a planned Obama-era rule that would have required businesses to begin collecting data to combat pay discrimination, a cause she has championed. “Whether my contribution ultimately lives up to the expectations of some of the harshest critics? Only time will tell,” she told the Financial Times in September.
Unlike Ivanka, Melania Trump fails to join the Most Powerful Women list as D.C. insiders claim that she hasn’t completely stepped up to the challenge yet. The First Lady trails powerful women who have trodden the White House like Laura Bush (who came on the list in 2004) and Michelle Obama (who came on in 2009). The expectations are high for the second immigrant First Lady of the U.S. (Louisa Adams, first lady in 1825, was the first) especially with President Trump’s stance on immigration, according to Kelly Gibson, a political consultant at the media firm in D.C.. “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 said.
While the skepticism persists, insiders – especially Democrats – expect First Lady Melania Trump, who according to the latest CNN poll from September is the most favorable Trump, to become a more significant voice. “On the campaign trail, she said that her main focus if she were first lady would be to take on bullying. Now that she’s FLOTUS, we haven’t seen her do much on bullying,” political analyst Cartney McCracken said. “But finally, this past Thursday we saw Melania step up in tackling one of the biggest threats to Americans— fighting the opioid epidemic.”
At the White House event in October where President Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency, Melania made the first remarks, a rare occasion thus far. “And I have recently taken a larger interest in what I can do to help fight this epidemic,” she told the crowd, evoking an applause. “I have been participating in meetings and listening sessions, and I have been visiting with people who have been affected by this disease.”
As Melania Trump becomes a voice in addressing the drug addiction epidemic, her critics want to see her do more. “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.” – Written by ,
5 Ways To Cope With The Self During Isolation
As Covid-19 continues to spread ruthlessly across the globe, governments have enforced lockdowns in countries to slow the infection rate. And this has meant restricted movements of people and work from home. As the globe’s population practises self-isolation and social-distancing, the lack of the familiar can lead to further stress and mental health issues. Establishing coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety and depression during these times is crucial. Healthcare practitioner and counselling psychologist, Nkateko Ndala-Magoro, through the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s Facebook platform, lets us in on five self-help strategies to deal with depression.
Get active: “It is hard I know to stay active while you are confined. The benefits of staying active is the release of feel good hormones that are in contrast with the hormones that exacerbate depression. Being active also helps regulate your heart beat; for people suffering from anxiety, the regulation of breathing might help with the severity of the anxiety/panic attack.”
Take time to sleep: “I know people are already feeling like they do not have any more positions of sleep because of sleeping too much during lockdown. I encourage that people get as much quality sleep as possible in this time. Sleeping has benefits on our health and wellbeing in general, let alone on our mental health on many levels.”
Read: “Keep yourself busy by reading. There is a wealth of information in books. There are many online platforms including Amazon, which have made available e-books for free. Read self-help books and fiction to escape the reality; and any other books that interest you.”
Learn a new skill: “This will also keep you interested as mastering something new takes a lot in terms of focus and energy.”
Connect with loved ones: “Connect with your loved ones via video chats. Journal and work on things you have been meaning to work on to give you a sense of accomplishment.”
The Five Trends To Future-Proof Your Business
Some of these fads were slowly building in the previous decade, others are still nascent, but need your full attention to prepare your business for the times ahead.
1. AI and machine learning
Key takeaway: Automate repetitive tasks, but be wary of automating inefficiencies and biases.
You’re surrounded by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: from the recommendations Netflix makes based on your viewing history to those pesky adverts that track you around the internet. As Bronwyn Williams, a trend analyst at Flux Trends in South Africa, explains, “Most of what you think is AI is actually machine learning.” Williams emphasizes that fears about AI “stealing jobs” are overrated, and most businesses will see the arduous, repetitive tasks given to machines, freeing up humans for analysis and critical thinking. She warns businesses to remember it’s the human interaction that differentiates one offering from another. “Don’t automate away your value. Look under the hood and make sure you understand why you are automating something – and be careful not to automate inefficiencies.” Looking at automated HR processes, companies have discovered that even unconscious human biases are learned by machines (for example, CVs belonging to certain genders and races are discredited. Machines are not born neutral – especially if they’re learning from humans.) Embrace machine learning, but do so with a pinch of salt.
2. Driverless cars and the supply chain
Key takeaway: Autonomous cars are still about 15 years away, but it’s best to prepare your fleet and supply chain choice now.
The automotive industry is going through some major changes: electric cars, the growth of services like Uber and Lift, and lastly, the development of autonomous vehicles. Though the first two will impact everyday consumer experiences, it’s self-driving cars that will massively alter businesses and their supply chains across Africa in the next decade. “As convenience and efficiency are the cornerstones of the fleet industry, there is no doubt self-driving vehicles will start making a play for their share of the fleet industry sooner rather than later,” explains Sudesh Pillay on fleet management company EQSTRA’s online platform. The supply chain will no longer be affected by driver fatigue and human error. Driverless cars will also dramatically impact accident rates (lowering them by 90%, according to some estimates) and supply chain efficiency. As Innovation Group’s Future Now report indicates, autonomous cars face some serious challenges across Africa before they can become a practical alternative to human drivers. “There is a vision, in the not-too-distant future, in which self-driving cars hold a lot of promise…. Others are more skeptical about the practical feasibility, especially in Africa where the infrastructural limitations (roads, electricity etc.) hold back the vision, at least in the foreseeable future. Our research indicates that self-driving cars may only become a reality in South Africa in  or more years and that this may spur innovative advances in infrastructure, energy services and ultimately the look and feel of roads and cities.”
3. Climate crises and
Key takeaway: Hire a Chief Sustainability Officer to
start building climate resilience into your business.
“Now is the time to start thinking seriously about resilience,” says Hugh Tyrrell, Director at Green Edge, a corporate mentoring initiative in Cape Town that helps businesses develop sustainably. “The big brands have Chief Sustainability Officers (CSO). This role is in the C-suite and is forward-thinking,” Tyrell explains. CSOs look at how businesses can start developing their own power, lower their eco-footprint and manage their resources better. Looking to the big corporate trendsetters, there are some major shifts in corporate strategy focusing on a sustainable business model instead of growth at all costs. Unilever, for example, is holding their suppliers to the same eco-friendly standards that they themselves are working at, says Tyrrell. Natural disasters associated with the climate crisis are already affecting African businesses too. Explains Tyrrell, “In agriculture, which is a big sector in Africa, we are seeing the effect of droughts or floods. Others have to work more closely with their suppliers to ensure supplies come in good condition and on time.” Mining is another industry heavily impacted by the climate crisis – and the push by consumers for more environmental-friendly solutions.
4. The age of cyberattacks and data breaches
Key takeaway: Make sure your IT department includes
skilled data protection specialists.
As businesses innovate and rely less on physical hardware like servers, and start instead relying on the cloud, they can expect to see a massive uptick in cyberattacks and subsequent data breaches. This trend increased exponentially in 2019 (even the City of Johannesburg in South Africa was held by ransomware) and is set to explode in the coming decade. Added to this, businesses are collecting more data than ever before, particularly for marketing purposes and to tailor their product offerings. Because of this, businesses should prepare themselves for the onslaught by firstly, taking their online security very seriously, secondly, training their staff (employees are the weakest link in any security chain) and thirdly, putting more budget behind appropriate security measures. “The demand for narrow cybersecurity expertise is driven by a constantly changing threat landscape, as well as evolving technologies, such as cloud or IoT. As a result, we see the bigger demand in, for example, threat intelligence analysts and dedicated threat intelligence services, and experts for cloud platform protection. The call for data protection specialists is seen in both technical and regulatory and compliance aspects,” says Alexander Moiseev, Chief Business Officer at online security software Kaspersky.
5. The remote workforce
Key takeaway: Flexi-hours and working remotely are practical ways to combat challenges like loadshedding and traffic.
With intermittent power supply (particularly in South Africa), increasing traffic and less reliance on physical IT infrastructure like servers, the remote and flexible workforce is becoming a norm. Says Moiseev, “The working model is already being changed, with 40% of small and medium companies regularly allowing their employees to work at locations outside the office — from home or while traveling.” In addition, health scares like the coronavirus are amplifying these trends. “Apps that enable remote working are having a moment,” explains Williams. “You now get filters to add makeup to video conferences so you don’t have to dress up when you’re working from home.” Many employees expect the flexibility of remote working when job hunting, and businesses reap the benefits of agility.
The Top 5 Emerging Crazy Tech
A pick of some of the weirdest, coolest tech that could come hurtling our way this year.
- A bot that delivers toilet paper
Forgot to instal toilet paper in the loo? The Charmin RollBot is designed to carry a roll of toilet paper on two wheels. With the press of a button on your phone, the RollBot will help with your sanitary requirement.
Using Bluetooth, the bot will commence its mission; an infra-red sensor able to navigate its way to you. According to Business Insider, there’s no price or release date for RollBot, nor is it clear if it will ever be released as a consumer product. Charmin calls RollBot a “conceptual prototype”. The brand unveiled the bot last month at the CES 2020 expo in Las Vegas.
2. The Cyrcle phone
If for any reason you got bored of your rectangular handset, the circular phone is always an alternative offering a different view and take. According to the makers, the phone was designed with the Generation Z, female audience in mind. It’s round and features two headphone jacks. The device was designed by a US-based startup delivering a shape that it says is more “sensual”. The company reckons it will be ready to launch in a year’s time.
3. A smart bed
There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep. But it’s not always possible to have the best sleep every day. Or is it? There is a bed that’s guaranteed to give you your beauty sleep the way you want it.
Sleep Number Climate 360 has a mattress with features that warm your feet to help you sleep faster. It will also help you stay asleep by cooling your body, and balance your temperature with your natural wake and sleep cycles.
But what’s most intriguing is the fact that the bed also gives you a Sleep IQ score for personalized sleep insights. It measures your heart rate, breathing and movement, tracks your circadian rhythms and can show how your heart rate varies. The smart bed received the CES 2020 Best of Innovation award and is only expected to be available in 2021.
4. Self-changing trash can
For those who dread taking out the trash, this device is possible a no-brainer. Apart from its motion sensors to detect when you need to throw trash, when it’s full, it will automatically seal the trash bag and line the bin with a new one, all with a press of a button.
Even if the bin is overflowing, the top compartment will lift up so it can still seal the bag shut without any mess. The bin, called the Townew bin, was designed by a Canadian company, Knectek Labs.
5. Vertical TV
Just when we were getting used to wider TVs, it seems taller screens may soon be coming to your living room. Samsung’s Sero TV vertical-oriented will soon be hitting markets.
The TV can not only work in the traditional horizontal format, but is also able to turn on its side for playing vertical videos in portrait style.This might come in handy when watching videos from social media platforms such as TikTok or Instagram that deal primarily with vertical videos.
It sits on a stand that prevents it hitting the floor when turning, and can be paired with a phone so that it automatically orientates it correctly based on what’s beamed from the handset. According to TechRadar.com the pricing and availability are yet to be revealed, but the Sero will be leaving Korea and is headed to the US and “several global markets” later this year.
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