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Monetising the sisterhood: do toxic cultures thrive in ‘feminist’ companies


About this ThinkIn

How do feminist businesses balance profit and purpose? Does ‘the sisterhood’ really work for everyone?

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Does ‘the sisterhood’ work for everyone or are women unfairly judged and held to a different standard or is toxic workplace culture systemic? Audrey Gelman, co-founder of upmarket women-only members’ club and co-working space The Wing, resigned in June following accusations of systemic mistreatment of her company’s Black and brown employees. The Wing has won over 100m in funding and has been marketed as an intersectional feminist haven where all women are welcome. Christene Barberich, editor-in-chief of Refinery29 which is marketed as a progressive feminist women’s media brand, also stepped down in June after former employees took to Twitter to describe Refinery29’s “toxic company culture where white women’s egos ruled”. There are those who say a private members’ club and a lifestyle magazine are anachronistic to feminism anyway but are women being unfairly discriminated against?

Chair: Basia Cummings, Editor and Partner, Tortoise

Our special guests include:

Yomi Adegoke is a multi-award winning journalist who is currently the woman’s columnist at The Guardian and the i paper. She is also co-author of the bestselling book Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible.

Ilana Kaplan is a New Jersey-born writer and editor based in Brooklyn. With over 11 years experience, she has had columns at VICE, Refinery29 and Observer and previously held positions as the U.S. culture reporter for The Independent and as a contributing editor at PAPER Magazine. Her work has been published in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Pitchfork, Variety, Billboard, etc.

Jessa Crispin is a columnist for the Guardian US, as well as a contributor to publications The Baffler, The Boston Review, The New York Times. She is the author of The Dead Ladies Project and Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto. She is the co-author of the Screaming Women zine with Jen May. She currently lives in Baltimore.

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Does ‘the sisterhood’ work for everyone or are women unfairly judged and held to a different standard or is toxic workplace culture systemic? Audrey Gelman, co-founder of upmarket women-only members’ club and co-working space The Wing, resigned in June following accusations of systemic mistreatment of her company’s Black and brown employees. The Wing has won over 100m in funding and has been marketed as an intersectional feminist haven where all women are welcome. Christene Barberich, editor-in-chief of Refinery29 which is marketed as a progressive feminist women’s media brand, also stepped down in June after former employees took to Twitter to describe Refinery29’s “toxic company culture where white women’s egos ruled”. There are those who say a private members’ club and a lifestyle magazine are anachronistic to feminism anyway but are women being unfairly discriminated against?


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Editor and invited experts

Basia Cummings
Editor

Ilana Kaplan is a New Jersey-born writer and editor based in Brooklyn. With over 11 years experience, she has had columns at VICE, Refinery29 and Observer and previously held positions as the U.S. culture reporter for The Independent and as a contributing editor at PAPER Magazine. Her work has been published in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Pitchfork, Variety, Billboard, etc.

Jessa Crispin is a columnist for the Guardian US, as well as a contributor to publications The Baffler, The Boston Review, The New York Times. She is the author of The Dead Ladies Project and Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto. She is the co-author of the Screaming Women zine with Jen May. She currently lives in Baltimore.

Yomi Adegoke is a multi-award winning journalist who is currently the woman’s columnist at The Guardian and the i paper. She is also co-author of the bestselling book Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible.