Ai-jen Poo: 2009-10 Visiting Social Activist

We're so proud of Ai-jen, who was named a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellow! For coverage of the award, see:

In 2012, Ai-jen was named to the "100 Most Influential People in the World" list by TIME Magazine.   Check out this profile and short video about her efforts organizing domestic workers to achieve their employment rights.  


Ai-jen Poo is co-founder and former director of Domestic Workers United, a New York-based advocacy organization of over 2,100 nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly. DWU mobilized a statewide campaign for a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Ms. Poo wrote about the lessons learned by Domestic Workers United regarding coalition building, promoting policy statewide, expanding membership and developing the leadership skills of its volunteers. 

Her paper about the organizing campaign was given to 1,000 activists who attended the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit in June 2010. Later that summer, New York Governor David Paterson signed the bill into law. In June 2011, the International Labor Organization adopted the first ever global rule recognizing domestic workers and setting international labor standards to protect their rights. Since then, the states of California, Massachusetts and Hawaii.  Learn more about the growing national and international movements to protect domestic workers' rights.
Ms. Poo now heads the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). In April 2012, Ms. Poo was named to TIME Magazine's list of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" for her leadership of domestic worker campaigns across the U.S.  Her profile in TIME was one of just a handful made into a video, which you can view here.
In conjunction with Barnard College Center for Research on Women, NDWA will host Justice in the Home:  Domestic Work Past, Present and Future at Barnard College October 16-18, 2014. This historic conference brings together leading scholars in the field of low-wage work, women's studies and the economy along with organizers and domestic workers. Together, scholars, activists and domestic workers will take stock of the field and establish priorities for further research. This kind of research has been critical to the success of domestic worker Bill of Rights campaigns.