Ai-Jen Poo Interview in The Sun Magazine

Subject: Workers Rights, Domestic Workers, Women's Rights, Immigration
Themes: Community Development Worker's Rights Women's Rights 21st Century
Age groups: High School
Resource type: Articles

In its May 2013 issue, The Sun Magazine published Anna Blackshaw's long interview with Ai-Jen Poo. To read the entire interview, "Swept Under the Rug", click here.

From the Ai-Jen Poo interview:

Anna Blackshaw: What is a domestic worker, and what sort of services do such workers provide?

Ai-Jen Poo: A domestic worker is anyone who works in someone's home. At the ndwa we focus on women who are employed directly by the homeowner and typically work for just one family. Domestic workers are not only nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers for the elderly; they are tutors, they are chauffeurs, they are advisors and confidantes. Theirs is the work that makes all other work possible, because without it many professionals could not go to their jobs.

The relationship between domestic worker and employer varies greatly from home to home. Sometimes there is a bond of trust that develops, and sometimes there is a relationship that is based more on fear, creating an unhealthy environment. I have heard about employers who have kept workers' passports or not paid them for months or fired them for calling in sick or becoming pregnant. In between are the employers who do not respect boundaries, who come home at eight when they said they would be home at six; meanwhile the worker's own family is waiting for a meal.

Respect is what people want most on the job, and too often domestic workers don't get it. They put so much of themselves into what they do, but mainstream culture does not recognize the value of their labor. Our campaigns are fundamentally about bringing them respect and recognition.