Ai-jen Poo Centers the Women of National Domestic Workers Alliance When Discussing this Country’s Future, Refinery29 Reports

Posted on January 9, 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Ai-jen Poo — Meryl Streep’s Red Carpet “Date”

Originally Published in Refinery29 on January 8, 2017
Written by Rachel Selvin

The National Domestic Workers Alliance is an organization that advocates for the women who labor in our homes every day as nannies, personal attendants, caregivers to the elderly, and housecleaners. Above all, they are the people who make all other labor possible by supporting millions of working families and allowing them to go out in the world and do what they do. But domestic workers also represent some of the most undervalued and invisible labor in our economy; when we talk about work, we rarely think of them. And there is very little in the way of guidelines or standards about how to fairly compensate or treat these people, especially since they’re vulnerable to modern day slavery situations, rape, or sexual assault. Our work at the National Domestic Workers Alliance is to elevate the level of respect we assign to this work, to raise awareness for the ways we have to invest in these jobs, and to act as a resource and support system for theses laborers. Ultimately, we want to change the politics and policy around how we value caregiving. When people think about where undocumented people are working in our economy, they usually think about agriculture. But, actually, the largest concentration of undocumented laborers are found in the domestic work industry. So it’s really the women in our homes — the ones caring for our children or grandparents and cleaning our houses — who are the ones being demonized in this political climate. There’s very little way to imagine how to care for everyone who needs it without an immigrant workforce. That’s why there are so many undocumented women in the sector of that economy. And as the American population continues to age, we’re ultimately we’re going to need an all-hands-on-deck care situation. It’s not surprising that women were the first to call for a march and have been organizing ever since. We’ve been a really big part of that, adding oxygen to women’s activism around the country; I believe it will be a large part of what ultimately saves us all. Women are really disproportionately impacted by any policies that get created around care and care giving — women are providing 72% of family care giving and 90% of the professional care workforce is female. Domestic care is a sector where women are leading, developing solutions, and pushing the conversation forward. It’s also profoundly intersectional, touching every generation, every race. Above all, women are leading the energy that will save our democracy. That’s what’s keeping us hopeful.

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