“How inclusive is the We in We Work?” According to the company’s IPO “Our mission is to elevate the world’s consciousness,” with “a culture of inclusivity,” however, what the company is projecting and what the reality is are two very different things. Did you know that the 7-person board at the company is almost all white and male, except for one John Zhao, from Hony Capital? After being questioned for their lack of diversity, WeWork only responded by saying, “We will politely decline comment.”
WeWork is facing a myriad of lawsuits surrounding discrimination
Founders, Adam Neumann, and Miguel McKelvey started WeWork nine years ago to rent out co-working spaces for freelancers, startups and more which was first lauded by people in the tech industry. However, it soon got a reputation for being an organization just short of a frat house, where drugs and alcohol became really accessible, particularly at their mandatory summer camps for colleagues. Also, there are been many accusations of discrimination based on gender, age, race, and religion, not to mention, sexual harassment, the infringement of privacy and more. Currently, the company is facing a myriad of lawsuits for the same. Interestingly, WeWork is also a big investor in The Wing; they own 23 percent and has also partnered with the very popular, Rent the Runway.
“When a company is on the verge of running out of cash, do you care about diversity? No”
After Neumann’s exit from his role, (he still owns 50 percent of the company) Marcelo Claure, the company’s new Executive Chairman recently answered the various questions put to him. Claure, who is also the COO of Softbank, (Softbank just took over WeWork), said that he will work hard to ensure that the company’s leadership is diverse and will work out a dedicated place to ensure that diversity is made a priority. On the other hand, however, ” We have everything that we need financially to go fund this. So now you know, we will look at diversity. To be honest, when a company is on the verge of running out of cash, do you care about diversity? No,” he added. Unfortunately, it is sad to see companies looking towards diversity only when they are questioned by women in the industry or are accused of grave bias and sexual harassment, and not when they themselves take the initiative to balance the workforce. Also, gender diversity is not made a strategy for business success, but rather a strategy after becoming successful.
Image credit: Bloomberg