During an event with Ivanka Trump, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged $100million to the First Daughter’s proposed Women Entrepreneurs Fund – on the same weekend her father signed a record arms deal with the Saudis.
The fund, which Ivanka first proposed during her trip to Berlin, Germany, will be run by the World Bank to help female entrepreneurs with the capital and networking resources necessary to kick start their businesses.
Saudi Arabia is known as the world’s most gender-segregated nation and women, who are famously barred from driving, live under the supervision of a male guardian.
During a roundtable on women’s economic empowerment, Ivanka praised Saudi Arabia’s progress but said ‘there’s still a lot of work to be done’
Ivanka, who is accompanying her father on his first international trip as president, said: ‘As a female leader within the Trump administration, my focus is to help empower women in the United States and around the globe.’
News of Ivanka’s fund broke in April, when she took up German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s invitation to attend the Women’s 20 Summit and pitched the idea to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
The $100million will be geared specifically towards women in the Middle East, and Kim said the money would be counted towards a $1billion women’s empowerment fund the World Bank hopes to announce at July’s G-20 Summit.
While the money will be controlled by World Bank and not Ivanka, critics were quick to raise President Trump’s repeated attacks on the Clinton Foundation during the presidential campaign.
Saudi Arabia donated between $10 and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to its website – which Donald Trump called ‘pay for play donations’ during the campaign. None of the donations were made while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.