I’ve been extremely intrigued by the news that Ivanka Trump will be holding a roundtable in Saudi Arabia while accompanying Donald Trump on his landmark trip. I keep trying to imagine what that roundtable is going to look like. What exciting women’s issues will come to the forefront? What wisdom will Ivanka share with her Saudi counterparts about how to be a successful entrepreneur and mother? What will Ivanka learn from the lives of women in the Kingdom?
Maybe it’ll go something like this:
Ivanka: Hi! My name is Ivanka! I’m so happy to be here with all of you! Thank you so much for your fabulous hospitality. I’m really looking forward to learning more about the economic issues in your lives. And I have come really well prepared. My rabbi blessed me before I came and I watched every episode of The Handmaid’s Tale before I got here to understand what your lives are like. Do you like my abaya? It’s from my own Ivanka — oops, I mean, Adrienne Vittadini’s line. Wow, I love your abaya. Where’s it from?
Saudi Woman 1: Chanel.
Ivanka: Now, I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia before, but I have been to Dubai, and I really admire the entrepreneurial spirit of Arab women. In Dubai I met businesswomen, lawyers, managers, women who own their own companies. I’m sure you all have some fantastic tales to tell me about your own entrepreneurship. Tell me some of the hurdles you faced when you started your own business.
Saudi Woman 2: We can’t drive.
Ivanka: Well, that’s not a problem! Your team can help you with that. Your chauffeur probably does an excellent job of handling that for you. That’s called delegation! Have you read my book, Women Who Work?
Saudi Woman 3: We can’t read.
Saudi Woman 3: Just joking. (Everyone giggles)
Ivanka: Oh. Hahaha. That was funny. You ladies are funny! So tell me more about your lives.
Saudi Woman 1: We live like princesses. We have every imaginable luxury you can imagine. Our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons take care of our every need so we need never leave the house if we don’t want to. They are so concerned about our safety that they insist on knowing when we leave the house. Or if we want to travel. We have to ask their permission for that.
Ivanka: I see.. uh…
Saudi Woman 2: In fact, I’ve got an idea. I want to develop an app that sends automatic permissions to your mobile phone. Just press a button if you want to be allowed to leave the country. Press this one if you want permission to get married. And this one will give you permission to get a passport. See? Your guardian gets the alerts delivered to his smartphone. It’s just a formality, really.
Ivanka: But you’re allowed to study, right? And work?
Saudi Woman 3: Of course. This is Saudi Arabia, not Saudi Barbaria. *laughter*
Ivanka: (laughing nervously) Okay… so how do you juggle your career and your home life?
Saudi Woman 2: Servants.
Ivanka: Don’t you mean your team? Child care? Domestic staff….
Saudi Woman 1: Servants.
Ivanka: Um. Okay. I can see you ladies have everything well under control. *Consults her notes* Do you have any messages for my father, the President of the United States? Anything you want him to know? He really cares about, uh, women’s empowerment.
Saudi Woman 3: Yes. Tell your father that he’s in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If he grabs anyone by the pussy, he’s going to get his hand cut off.