By Claire Zillman
May 22, 2017

As President Donald Trump landed in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, a trending topic on Twitter was #binttrump, Arabic for “Trump’s daughter,” meaning Ivanka.

“Usually in Saudi, when we like somebody, especially in the hierarchy of the royals, we call them Abu,” or father of, businessman Ahmed Ibrahim told the L.A. Times. “With President Trump, when we want to mention how great he is, we say ‘Abu Ivanka,’ we don’t say ‘Abu Eric.’ She’s amazing.”

To Saudi women, the first daughter is an aspirational figure as a traditional wife and mother and as a key member of a family business. That latter trait is especially important since familial support—mainly from their fathers—is still the only real way for Saudi women to succeed professionally.

Yet Saudi women can only relate to Ivanka Trump to a point. The first daughter possesses freedoms—such as the right to drive and to travel independently—that are still off-limits to them.

Saudi Arabia has made small changes to its male guardianship system, but women are still required to get approval from a male relative to travel abroad, to get a passport, and to marry.

Ivanka Trump seemed to acknowledge those restrictions at a roundtable meeting for women in Saudi Arabia yesterday that was hosted by Princess Reema bint Bandar, head of the women’s section of the General Authority of Sports.

“You stand on the front lines in the fight for gender equality,” Trump told the women gathered at the discussion. “Saudi Arabia’s progress is encouraging, but there is still work to be done—and freedoms and opportunities to continue to fight for.”



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