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Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump (R) introduces US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (L) as they discuss tax reform at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on November 5, 2017. (FREDERIC J,. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Holding sway

Ivanka Trump not in the running to helm the World Bank … but will help choose who does

By WITW Staff on January 15, 2019

Ivanka Trump, the U.S. president’s daughter and senior adviser, will be involved in the selection of the next head of the World Bank, the White House announced on Monday.

Trump was herself rumored to be under consideration for the role as recently as last week — a suggestion that met with public derision.

The White House has confirmed she will not be a candidate, but will instead assist the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, in choosing a successor to Jim Yong Kim, who announced his resignation last week. The job has traditionally gone to an American, while Europe selects the head of the International Monetary Fund. Interviews will begin on Tuesday. After recommendations are made to President Trump, he will nominate a candidate who will be voted on by members of the World Bank.

White House spokesoman Jessica Ditto said that Ivanka was asked to participate because “she’s worked closely with the World Bank’s leadership for the past two years.”

Last year, she helped establish the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (branded “We-Fi”), administered by the World Bank, with the goal of generating $1.6 billion in capital for female entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Her previous dealings with the Bank have not been without controversy. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, expressed concern last year that her women’s apparel and accessories brand could stand to benefit from the work of the entrepreneurs’ fund. Since then, Trump has shut down her eponymous line.

Richard W. Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, has also expressed ongoing reservations. “I do not believe that Ivanka and Jared have sufficiently divested their assets that they can participate personally and substantially in economic policy — particularly international economic matters — without risk of violating financial conflict of interest laws,” he said.

Following Kim’s announcement he would step down from the role, Meighan Stone and Rachel Vogelstein of the Council on Foreign Relations penned a comment piece arguing the time had come to appoint a woman to the top job at the World Bank.

In its 74-year history, the job has always been occupied by a man. The IMF, they point out, shattered its glass ceiling by appointing its first female head in 2011, France’s Christine Lagarde, who was also the first woman to serve as finance minister of a G7 economy.

During Kim’s tenure at the World Bank, investing in women was a top priority, including through the establishment of We-Fi.

“If a woman can be a beneficiary of the World Bank, why can’t a woman be at the helm?,” they ask.

Watch the IMF’s Christine Lagarde and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discuss gender equality at the 2018 Women in the World Canada Summit:

Read the full story at The New York Times and Fortune.

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