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WiCipedia: Private Groups Tackle Membership Guidelines & the New Richest Woman in Tech

Eryn Leavens
1/18/2019
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This week in our WiCipedia roundup: There's a new richest woman in tech; CES ups its gender equality; The Wing reassesses membership requirements; and more.

  • Co-working space The Wing has made headlines for its blush-toned offices and girly girl-friendly membership perks, but its no-boys-allowed policy has started to ruffle a few non-discriminatory feathers, SF Gate reports. Devil's advocates say that the membership-only club excludes trans and non-binary folks who don't identify as female, especially as the company's swag is emblazoned with the expression "No Man's Land." Taking these considerations to heart, The Wing has posted a statement on its website that it "is a diverse community open to all," along with new, more lax formal membership guidelines. An email to members stated, "With a growing number of members who identify as transgender or beyond the gender binary, we want to make sure that we are as inclusive a community as possible. We're committed to advancing a feminist ethos that is inclusive of those who align with our mission, including women and people of marginalized genders." (See Do Women-Only Co-Working Spaces Work for Women?)

    Retro Chic Is the Name of the Game in The Wing Offices
    (Source: Vogue)
    (Source: Vogue)

  • Yet The Wing isn't the only next-level resource for working women in the headlines these days. TechCrunch brought our attention to Chief, the new kid on the block for career-savvy city dwellers. Chief is a private, membership-only group in New York that offers mentorship and coaching -- along with many other perks -- for C-suite-board women, and those who are already fairly successful, judging from the $5,400 per year base membership fee. While the group is currently not gender restrictive, the 200 members are all female. The group has diversity in mind though, and plans to offer grants for candidates who can't afford the hefty price tag of admission. Additionally, the starting members are 25% women of color. (See WiCipedia: Male Allies, Co-Working Spaces & Automation and WiCipedia: Should Men Be Included? & Olympians Face Discrimination.)

  • As we welcome a new year, we also like to look back at the year past -- specifically what went well and what blew up in our faces. So we were delighted to see news on Crunchbase that 2018 saw the highest amount of investment money funneled into female-started companies ever. "Nearly $40 billion was invested in companies with at least one female founder, representing 17 percent of invested dollars in the year," the article states. While 17% may not sound like a lot, it's certainly progress. Compared to the numbers for 2017, the percentage of funds going to female-started companies only went up 3% from 14%, yet the dollar amount -- $19.88 billion in 2017 to $38.9 billion in 2018 -- nearly doubled.

    Taking Venture Cash, $1 at a Time
    (Source: Crunchbase)
    (Source: Crunchbase)

  • CES came and went with a bang this year, and many noted that its representation of minorities far surpassed its performance in years past. Inc. reports that the "most important announcement at CES" was that the host of the show, the Consumer Technology Association, "will invest $10 million in venture firms and funds focused on women, people of color and other underrepresented startups and entrepreneurs." Additionally, contrary to last year when the initial CES speaker line-up was all male, four out of the nine keynoters at this year's show were female, Biz Journal explains. (See WiCipedia: Bots Gone Wild at CES & Another Google Lawsuit.)

  • In our most gossipy news of the week, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos have filed for divorce after 25 years of marriage. While Jeff is often in the news, MacKenzie is much more private, though was crucial to Amazon's success. Wired explains that in the early days of Amazon, "The only reason [Jeff] was able to [start Amazon] is because he had an extremely supportive spouse. It was an incredible risk and one that they both took on jointly." Yet MacKenzie, an award-winning novelist and founder of the anti-bullying organization Bystander Revolution, doesn't get much of the credit. Wired posits that the "lone genius" myth of the tech entrepreneur simply isn't true, and that there's often a supportive spouse behind the scenes. Since the Bezoses did not get a pre-nup and live in the community property state of Washington, this divorce has the potential to make MacKenzie Bezos the richest woman in the world. (See WiCipedia: Richest Women in Tech & Next-Level Hacker Sexism.)

    — Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, Light Reading

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