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The Wing is under investigation—does this mean women’s coworking spaces could be illegal?


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Photo: Instagram/@the.wing

Having a work space full of smart, driven women is a boss babe’s dream. You can make meaningful connections, empower each other, and even help fuel each other’s careers. So unsurprisingly, women’s coworking spaces have become increasingly popular in the past few years—but is the trend illegal?

The Wing has been planting coworking covens for women on the East Coast since 2016 and now has three locations in New York City and one in D.C. But recently, the company has come under investigation by the NYC Commission of Human Rights to determine whether it violates the city’s Human Rights Law, which states businesses can’t discriminate against customers based on gender—and the Wing doesn’t permit men to become members or visit its facilities as guests.

Right now there’s no lawsuit in place—just a meeting on the books to discuss the situation, according to Jezebel. And predictably, some women have been very outspoken about questioning the validity of the investigation, including Melissa Murray, a professor of law at UC Berkeley who’s currently teaching at NYU.

“I think it’s patently absurd for New York’s human rights commission to be focusing on the Wing when we’ve had, over the last six months, numerous complaints about workplaces being absolutely hostile to women in terms of pervasive and endemic sexual harassment.” —Melissa Murray, professor of law

“I think it’s patently absurd for New York’s human rights commission to be focusing on the Wing when we’ve had, over the last six months, numerous complaints about workplaces being absolutely hostile to women in terms of pervasive and endemic sexual harassment,” Murray told Jezebel. “Leaving aside the fact that so many workplaces seem to be rife with incidents of sexual harassment, now, after #MeToo, I think there are a lot of men in positions of authority who are going to be really skeptical and afraid to mentor women, and that might make a space like this even more necessary.”

There’s no saying what the outcome will be, but according to The Cut, these reviews aren’t anything out of the ordinary—and “the mayor is fully supportive of the Wing’s mission,” which Audrey Gelman, CEO of the Wing, made clear.

“We have been assured that the De Blasio Administration fully supports the mission of the Wing and will work with us to see it prosper.” —Audrey Gelman, CEO of the Wing

“That call has resulted in nothing more than an agreement to meet and have a conversation—in fact, we have been assured that the De Blasio Administration fully supports the mission of the Wing and will work with us to see it prosper,” she told the Cut. “Because of the history of women in this country—and even more so in this time we live in—it is important to protect and foster the work of the Wing and similar spaces that give women a positive and safe space to thrive.”

So, rather than worry about this seemingly routine investigation, just keep carrying out the mission of the ladies-only coworking space by being your ambitious #bossbabe self every day.

These are the best and worst states in the country for women to live their best lives. Also, check out the simple scheduling hack Michelle Obama uses to Do. It. All.

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