Wing Women | Vogue India

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With guests including Hillary Clinton and Jennifer Lawrence, this women's-only social club is becoming a powerful space where women have each other's back. The Wing is a force to reckon with, finds Lauren Norling.

A self-thrown, female-only, karaoke-singing birthday party at a Brooklyn Heights dive bar was the galvanising inspiration behind the prolific women's-only members club that is now called The Wing. When Audrey Gelman—a Manhattan-native, former PR specialist for SKDKnickerbocker (a public affairs and political consulting firm) and long-time BFF of Lena Dunham—threw said party in 2015, it was the formidable force of the women that night that ignited her reflection on the status quo of the workspace in New York. To bring this idea of a social-club-meets-worksapce-meets-beauty-salon for women to life just a year later in 2016, Gelman enlisted Lauren Kassan, the former head of business development at ClassPass, the world's largest multi-studio fitness membership. "It's not a concept that really existed before. We are charting our own path, which is thrilling," says Gelman, who had now idea that space would grow so rapidly.

Though the concept of a women's-only club isn't novel, The Wing is a 21st-century update on it. Beyond amenities like showers, a nursing room, a reading room with shelves of books by female authors, and a beauty room complete with high-end products—circa Chanel, Ouai, and Glossier—it's an environment that champions women, giving them a space to retreat for meetings, networking, freelancing, or staring on their latest venture.

Global initiatives like the Women's March have highlighted issues like gender parity and the pay gap. But with no modern precedence of a club, Gelman and Kassan relied on history for guidance in creating their space. Central to this is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: "women are by nature progressive." In the battle for female empowerment, they are paving the way. Emblazoned on their website is The Wing's mission: "To create space for women to advance their pursuits and build community together." 

With three locations in New York (Flatiron, SoHo and DUMBO) an Instagram following of 218k followers (@the.wing), and know out interiors, The Wing also boasts A-list names (from Hillary Clinton to Christiane Amanpour) at events, which spurs their success. But beyond the unmistakeable attendance of these inimitable women is the mission of inclusivity that underlies each of their events. Discussions about colourist and the presence of the queer community in media are a glimpse into the encompassing dialogue that not only exists but also flourishes at The Wing.

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CultureLauren Norling