Sitting on a G20 panel with female leaders, Donald Trump's daughter drew chuckles from the audience when she praised "my father's advocacy" on the issue and his role as "a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive".
The panel moderator, a finance journalist, interjected, saying "some attitudes toward women your father has publicly displayed... might leave one questioning whether he is such an empowerer for women."
"I've certainly heard the criticism from the media and that's been perpetuated," replied Ivanka, 35.
"But I know from personal experience that I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades, when he was in the private sector, are testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man.
Ivanka Trump, Angela Merkel and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Photo: DPA
"As a daughter, I can speak on a personal level, knowing that he encouraged me and enabled me to thrive. I grew up in a house where there were no barriers to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and my own tenacity … There was no difference for me and my brothers."
Ivanka, a glamorous former model who started her own fashion line, has worked for her billionaire-father's company and now has an office in the White House.
On her first official trip in the role, she appeared on the panel with high-powered guests including IMF chief Christine Lagarde and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, on Women's Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship.
Ivanka had previously met Merkel in March at the White House, where they co-hosted a talk of business leaders on vocational education and workforce development.