Coworking spaces like WeWork, a new paradigm in business workplace, have been popping up around the world. In recent years, more and more women-only spaces are becoming available in major cities, including New York, San Francisco and Detroit. Their growing popularity may reflect an increasing awareness of women’s rights, especially following the numerous scandals involving sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, which have continued to emerge since last fall.
One such coworking space created by women for women is The Wing, which was founded by the 31-year-old Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan, who were college friends. The company opened its first space in the Flat Iron district in October 2016, then in SoHo in fall 2017. Additional spaces are scheduled to open in Brooklyn and Washington DC this winter.
The Wing was launched with the aim to create a community where women could comfortably gather, work and make connections, while at the same time taking a moment to pause. The annual membership costs $2,350–2,700. Currently there are over 1,500 members, and about 8,000 people on the waitlist. Most members are of the millennial generation, but the company also solicits older members.
The 3,500-square-foot-space has a soft-colored interior with conference rooms, shower rooms, a lactation room and a library stacked with books by female authors. The spacious powder room is stocked with cosmetic products by women-founded brands. In addition to providing working spaces, The Wing organizes many events on health, fashion and child rearing. It also invites senators as speakers to raise social and political awareness.
In November 2017, The Wing launched its own print magazine, and received a $32 million investment by WeWork, its largest competitor. What is notable is that the decision for this large-scale investment came from a female executive at WeWork, which clearly takes an interest in the future growth of The Wing.