March 27th, 2018
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you live in New York City or Washington, D.C. and work in a certain kind of industry, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of The Wing. If you haven’t: Founded in 2016 as a private social club and co-working space for women, the company currently operates three locations, collects dues from more than 1,500 members (including Jezebel’s Editor-in-Chief Koa Beck), and attracts the sort of media coverage that most publicists can only dream about. All of this has drawn more than $40 million in venture capital, including $32 million from the co-working giant WeWork.
The attention and capital that have coalesced around The Wing are tricky to separate from the company’s preoccupation with gender and the questions that inevitably raises. Some of these questions are big, theoretical ones: Do women and other marginalized genders actually want more gender-segregated spaces? What kind of women join The Wing, and what role will they play in an increasingly intersectional landscape of activism? The Wing’s policy toward non-binary people is already being publicly debated, and although the club has some non-binary members, its marketing materials continue to focus on women.
There’s another big question, and this one is practical and newly pressing: How do anti-discrimination laws apply to The Wing? Spurred by media coverage of the company, the New York City Commission on Human Rights has opened what they call a “commission-initiated investigation” into how it operates. Representatives from The Wing will soon meet with the commission to discuss it. “We are looking forward to working with The Wing to ensure that they are in compliance with the law,” said Seth Hoy, a spokesperson for the agency.
I’m sympathetic to the argument that a historically oppressed group should be granted an exception so that they might have space to organize on their own, the better to remedy the imbalance that history has created.Source