President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and First Daughter Ivanka Trump met with a handful of female business leaders at the White House on Monday to discuss the challenges women face in corporate America.
The two world leaders announced at the event that they’d be launching a task force aimed at helping female business leaders and entrepreneurs on the issue. “We need policies that help to keep women in the workforce and to address the unique barriers faced by female entrepreneurs. And they are unique,” Trump said. “We need to make it easier for women to manage the demands of having both a job and a family. We also need to make it easier for women entrepreneurs to get access to capital.”
Ivanka Trump, who has expressed an interested in advocating for women’s issues, reportedly helped select the attendees and set the meeting’s agenda. The group, which was expected to include General Electric Canada CEO Elyse Allan, Accenture North America CEO Julie Sweet and former Goldman Sachs executive and assistant to President Trump Dina Powell, was expected to touch on maternity leave, the recruitment and retention of women in corporations and how both governments can better help female entrepreneurs.
Read the full transcript of President Trump, Ivanka Trump and Trudeau’s remarks to female leaders.
D. TRUMP: Thank you all very much. This is a great honor. Very nice. I recognize some of you. Great success. (Inaudible). I am honored to be here with Prime Minister Trudeau, whose father I knew and respected greatly, and he gave me a picture of myself and your father. And what a great picture. I will keep that in a very special place.
At the Waldorf Astoria together we are going to launch the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs. We have some of the great ones in this room. And business leaders. We have so many great women leaders around the table today. And we are going to go through your names and exactly, because many of you I know. Some of you I don’t. I want to find out all about you.
And women as you know — and I can say that from my past life — I had so many women executives that were phenomenal — phenomenal, and they really helped me a great deal in business. So it was really fantastic.
They play a tremendously important role, women, in our economy. Women are the primary source of income in 40 percent of American households, and households with children under the age of 18. In order to create economic growth and lots of very good, well-paying jobs, we must ensure that our economy is a place where women can work and thrive, and I think that’s happening in the United States much more so.
And Ivanka is very much involved in this. And I appreciate you being involved in it.
And I know the, Justin, in your — in Canada, it’s happening (inaudible), and that’s very important. We need policies that help to keep women in the workforce and to address the unique barriers faced by female entrepreneurs. And they are unique. We need to make it easier for women to manage the demands of having both a job and a family. We also need to make it easier for women entrepreneurs to get access to capital.
And I guess pretty much all entrepreneurs we have to help them out, because the system is not working so well for entrepreneurs getting capital. But it’s in particular difficult for women, so we’re going to get access to markets and access to networks.
And I look forward to hearing your advice. We’re going to go around the table, and I want to learn something today.
And again, it’s a great honor to be with you.
And, Justin, I can say on behalf of our country, it’s an honor to be with you.
TRUDEAU: Thank you, Donald, for welcoming us. And I am really excited about launching this, sitting around the table here with a number of successful executives who just happen to be women. One of the things that I’ve been lucky enough to do over the past year in New York and Beijing, and across Canada is sit down with women CEOs, women executives to talk about both their successes and the challenges their facing that are particular, but also how, of course, we create more paths to success for women across our community and across our society.
Whenever I sit down with a woman executive, I know that she has had to overcome significant barriers that exist, and therefore is likely to have, you know, greater insight into help (ph) reduce those barriers for others. But also be a formidable contributor to the success of the business and her economy.
So I think for me it’s not just about doing the right thing. It’s about understanding that women in leadership positions is a very powerful leverage for success, for business, for communities, and for our entire economy.
TRUDEAU: It’s a great pleasure to sit with you now and to hear from your extraordinary leadership.
(UNKNOWN): Thank you.
D. TRUMP: How about we start with Ivanka and we go around the room.
Ivanka, do you just want to say a couple of words?
I. TRUMP: Welcome. And I am honored to be here. I am really looking forward to hearing from each of you. You have served as tremendous role models for me and so many other business leaders. (Inaudible) can lend some tremendously valuable perspectives as we think about the unique challenges that entrepreneurs, women in the workforce, female small business owners are confronted with each and every day. And as we think about we level the playing field for this generation and the next.
Thank you for being here. And I look forward to hearing from each of you.
D. TRUMP: Thank you.