The Wing Is Closing for Good

The Wing Is Closing for Good

After seven years of feminist memes, Jennifer Lawrence sightings and an investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, women's only co-working space The Wing has announced to its members that they will be permanently closing their six remaining locations, effective immediately.

"The operating environment since reopening our six current locations of The Wing, 14 months ago has continued to prove extremely challenging,” an email obtained by Insider sent to The Wing's members read. “With the backdrop of the Covid pandemic and increasing global economic challenges, we have been unable to recover and grow the level of active membership and event activity necessary to run a financially sustainable operation."

Once touted as a women's utopia,"The Wing has had a bumpy run in its brief tenure. Founded by Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan in 2016, The Wing at its peak had 11 locations and a wait list of 9,000 people with celebrity guests and a social media presence that was the embodiment of corporate girlboss feminism. The Wing's idealistic women-only policy, while designed to be an empowering safe haven at the height of the #MeToo movement, ultimately ended up being the company's undoing.

Already having drawn criticism for their prices making the space inaccessible to lower income people, The Wing's gender exclusive policy left little space for individuals that might identify as femme or nonbinary. The New York City Commission on Human Rights announced in 2018 that they were investigating the company for discrimination and The Wing was even sued by a D.C. man over their membership policies. By 2019, The Wing had amended their membership policy to be more inclusive of all gender identities and then the pandemic struck and there was no longer a need for co-working spaces.

To make matters worse, The Wing was also exposed as being a toxic work environment with staff, particularly employees of color, having complained about being mistreated and underpaid. According to aNew York Times exposé, The Wing was infamous for not practicing what they preach with workers of color alleging that they experienced racism from both management and members.

Amid all the controversy, Gelman stepped down as CEO by the end of the summer of 2020, telling the company that "the right thing for the business, and the best way to bring The Wing along into a long overdue era of change." The Wing's new CEO, Jen Cho, would go on to only last five months and the club later reportedly considered bankruptcy, which in turn prompted International Workplace Group's purchase of a controlling share in the company.

All of The Wing's September events have been canceled so far, and comments on their Facebook and Instagram accounts have been disabled. Interestingly enough, The Wing's website still has membership applications open with all remaining members still allowed to access any of IWG's current locations through September 30.

The writing for The Wing has been on the wall for quite some time, making news of their shuttering not terribly surprising. That being said, many may not be terribly sad to see The Wing go, but they are looking forward to the millennial pink liquidation sale that the future might hold.

Photo via Getty/Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post