Ai-jen Poo

THE LABOR ORGANIZER

Ai-jen Poo is an award-winning activist, thought leader, and social innovator, and a leading voice in domestic workers’ rights and family care advocacy.

She is currently the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and the Co-Director of Caring Across Generations, a campaign that advocates for affordable care for aging individuals, as well as the workers that care for them. As the American workforce is increasingly defined by intermittent, service-based, and part-time work and the need for care workers explodes as baby boomers age, Poo is catalyzing a movement of respect and improved working conditions for millions of workers.

As lead organizer of the New York City–based Domestic Workers United (2000–2009), she spent countless hours in parks, buses, and other gathering places for domestic workers, creating opportunities for these largely isolated women to share their experiences, guiding mistreated workers to appropriate legal channels, articulating the vital economic role of domestic workers, and developing with workers a framework of legal standards for the industry.

Ms. Poo’s numerous accolades include recognition as a 2014 MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellow, a 2013 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and was named to TIME magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012, as well as Newsweek’s 150 Fearless Women list that same year. Ai-Jen is on the board of Trustees of the Ford Foundation

Ai-jen Poo received a B.A. in 1996 in from Columbia University and began her work in organizing in 1996 with the Women Workers Project at the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence. She co-founded Domestic Workers United in 2000 and served as lead organizer until 2009, and she joined the National Domestic Workers Alliance as executive director in 2010. She is also co-director of Caring Across Generations.

To learn more about Ai-jen Poo, follow her on Twitter at @aijenpoo.

Read the next story, Brad Lander or go back to all stories.