The Wing is a network of co-working and community spaces for women, founded in Manhattan’s Ladies Mile in 2016.
The women’s club movement was formed in the 19th and early 20th century by pioneering women who provided each other with encouraging community at a time when they needed it most.
There were over 600 such groups in New York City by the 1930’s and over 5,000 nationwide.
In 1868, Fanny Fern was turned away from an all-male New York Press Club dinner honoring Charles Dickens. Fern, a popular American newspaper columnist, explained that she was invited to “listen to the speeches ‘through the crack of a door.’
One year later, Fern cofounded America’s first professional women’s club, Sorosis.
By the 1920s, the social club wasn’t just for middle class or wealthy women. Working women met in groups under names like the Lady Flashers, the Lady Millionaires, and the Lady Liberties.
In the 1970s, women’s clubs took on issues more pertinent to the times. The Jane Club of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union maintained a network of abortion providers, and the Boston Women’s Health Collective published Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Written by Alexis Coe - The WIng’s in-house historian