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Are We #InThisTogether? A Discussion Exploring The Racial Divide in Sisterhood
July 1, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am PDT
Coworking spaces are rooted in values of openness and accessibility, creating an ethos of connection and belonging. But what happens when they are not rooted in inclusivity? What happens when Black employees and members are disallowed equal opportunities?
As a membership platform for femme-identified and non-binary owners of coworking spaces, we believe in true equality and the power of sisterhood. And according to Dr. Tina Opie, shared sisterhood is only as strong as it is equal.
Let’s talk about shared sisterhood, for a moment.
Dr. Opie, associate professor of management at Babson College states, “you can’t build meaningful connections between women of different races and ethnicities, let alone ask them to advocate for their collective advancement, if Black and Hispanic women report being excluded from the relationships required to make an organization run.”
In recent news, a large number of employees at The Wing, a women-focused coworking space said to be built on values of intersectional feminism, staged a “digital walkout” to protest the leadership of Audrey Gelman and to ask for sweeping changes to the management of The Wing, especially its treatment of Black and Brown employees.
The coworking movement, indeed, has its own work to do around inclusivity and equality.
So, it’s time for a candid and open conversation about the racial divide in sisterhood. We, the coworking founders and operators, play a vital role in breaking the “concrete wall” that prevent the advancement of black and brown women. Our goal is to leave this conversation with deeper understanding and action steps to strengthen relationships, and advance the contributions of Black women within the coworking movement and beyond.
Please join us in this conversation and in preparation, read and be ready to discuss the account referenced in the following 3 articles.
For reference of shared sisterhood and social justice: https://hbr.org/podcast/2020/06/sisterhood-is-critical-to-racial-justice
Laura and Iris, co-founders of Women Who Cowork, will hold space for this conversation. Yet, we acknowledge, as White women, we can only understand our own lived experience and not the lived experience of Black, Brown and Asian women. While we certainly experience systemic discrimination as women, our skin color makes us less threatening to the group which holds systemic power. We are committed to examining the strategies and patterns of oppression that uphold our privilege and to dismantling these systems of racism and oppression.