When Men Sue Women’s Empowerment Orgs for Gender Discrimination

Article here. Excerpt:

'The rise of women-focused organizations promoting co-working, workplace savviness, and old-fashioned networking is confronting a new backlash: lawsuits from men who say they are being unfairly excluded.

Yale University and the University of Southern California are under investigation by the Department of Education for programs and scholarships for women. An organization to get more women on the golf course—long a bastion of male power and a frequent locale for business deals—was sold and shut down after settling with a plaintiff for holding women-only events. The head of Chic CEO, an organization that hosted online resources for women starting their own businesses, downsized her company after settling a lawsuit alleging the group excluded men from networking events. And the Wing, an exclusive all-women co-working and social space, is under investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights for gender discrimination.

The most recent women’s empowerment organization to go public about getting hit with a gender-discrimination lawsuit is Ladies Get Paid, a for-profit organization that holds networking events and classes on negotiating salaries and raises, managing money, and building confidence. After two men were denied entry to two women-only Ladies Get Paid events in August and September 2017 in San Diego and Los Angeles, respectively, they filed two lawsuits under the California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, and other protected characteristics.
Targeting women’s empowerment events is an abuse of the law and part of the larger attack on the civil rights of vulnerable people that the Unruh Act was designed to protect, said Elizabeth Kristen, director of Gender Equity and LGBT Rights Program at Legal Aid at Work and an expert on gender discrimination. “They are using the Unruh Act as a sword.” And Kristen says not all of these lawsuits are the same.'

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