We already knew that actress, comedian, producer and mom of two Amy Poehler was insanely funny. But in a new profile in Fast Company, we learned that Poehler, with her legions of fans, social media reach and social activism, is also quickly becoming a leading advocate for girls and women.


Given Poehler’s tremendous success in Hollywood, it’s easy to assume that she wouldn’t be subject to the ‘mommy penalty,’ a cultural phenomenon which shows that mothers are penalized (and fathers rewarded) in the workplace after having children.

It seems that five consecutive Emmy awards, a beloved sitcom (R.I.P. ‘Parks & Rec,’) and an AMAZING Hillary Clinton impression aren’t enough for some people. In Fast Company, Poehler explains how she’s still questioned over how she balances family and professional duties, an interrogation, she says, that men don’t experience in the workplace.

Here’s what Poehler says she frequently experiences during meetings with male executives:

“I have these meetings with really powerful men and they ask me all the time, ‘Where are your kids? Are your kids here?’ ” she says with a sneer. “It’s such a weird question. Never in a million years do I ask guys where their kids are. It would be comparable to me going to a guy, ‘Do you feel like you see your kids enough?”

Poehler also talks about learning from male behavior in the workplace, to bring a degree of equilibrium to her interactions:

“I often look to men to model behavior,” she goes on after a pause. “Not because I want to squelch what’s feminine about me, but because sometimes I want a little more action, a little less feeling in my interactions. I’ve been doing this thing lately where I try to talk slower at meetings. I take a lot of meetings with women and we all talk really fast. But every guy talks so much slower. Maybe there’s a scientist who could tell me why, but I think men are just a little bit more comfortable taking up conversational real estate. So I’ve been seeing how slow I can tolerate talking. I’m doing it now. Let me tell you, it’s really hard for me.”

Like Poehler, we’re proud of our kids. We’re also proud of our work accomplishments. But like fathers, modern mothers want to be taken seriously in the workplace for all that they’ve achieved.

Read more about Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, how Poehler is helping to develop the next generation of female comics, and how she’s become a feminist icon in Fast Company.

(photo credit: “Amy Poehler by David Shankbone” by David Shankbone – David Shankbone. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)