#31Days of Feminism: Ai-jen Poo

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Throughout the month of March, NBCBLK, NBCLatino, and NBC Asian America have partnered with the Ms. Foundation for Women for #31Days of Feminism to spotlight women of color who, through their actions and words, lead the way toward a more equal world.

Ai-jen Poo, 42 (Chicago, IL) — Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Co-Director of Caring Across Generations

Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigrant women and immigration reform on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 18, 2013. Jacquelyn Martin / AP fie

What do you love the most about the work you do?

Every day, I hear the stories of women who spend their days caring for others. I hear about the challenges of the work, along with the joys. Their courage and leadership in addressing the challenges has made history time and time again — whether it's passing the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, or gaining inclusion in minimum wage and overtime laws, or establishing the first mindfulness training for domestic workers. It gives me hope that we can collectively create the future that we need — with good jobs, access to affordable, quality care and a democracy that's fully inclusive of even the least visible among us.

What is feminism to you?

To me, feminism is action that is grounded in the belief that every person is equally and fully human and valuable. It also includes creating a world where all work — like the work of caring for families — is truly recognized, accounted for, valued, and protected. The feminist vision of the world is one where people bring the best of who they are to the table and try to nurture that in each other.

Can you pinpoint the moment when you decided to become a feminist? If you don’t consider yourself a feminist, why not?

I learned to be a feminist through a lifetime of watching women solve problems, care for others, and support other women — beginning with my mother and my grandmother.

What is the best way we can all be “feminists”?

I would say to strive to see the world through the eyes of the least visible among us. When we start to see the world, and then design the world from the perspective of those who are most challenged by the status quo, then we know we're creating a world that will work for the most people possible — that is the feminist project. The Caring Across Generations campaign is one example of what happens when you actually look at the world through the eyes of caregivers. You find opportunities for transformation that really lift everyone.

Who are your “sheroes”?

Juana Flores, Dorothy Bolden, Gloria Steinem, Audre Lorde

Favorite feminist anthem?

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" — Nina Simone

Favorite feminist artist? (authors, singers, dancers, actors)

Sarah Jones, Colman Domingo, America Ferrera, Marisa Tomei, Beyoncé, Aziz Ansari, Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia Butler