Female Coworking Spaces : whats all the hype?
The treatment of women in the workplace has been a constant tug of war within our society for many years. Issues ranging from equal pay to harassment from male coworkers to maternity leave, women are still trying to find their voice within male-dominated workspaces. But instead of trying to adapt to a privileged white male eco-system, some women have found solace in female coworking spaces. Operating as a relatively new concept, these office spaces allow for the business-oriented woman to collaborate in an all-female work environment. Its benefits are indisputable when it comes to the productivity element of how women work independently and together. So much so, that these offices are popping up more frequently, and helping women let their guard down to a much healthier work culture
. The country has become increasingly more progressive, and women have made brave attempts to mold a world where they are accepted. Lack of opportunities has pushed many to invest in themselves and start their businesses. With more women entering into the independent workforce, it means more will seek a shared coworker space. Even though women’s involvement in these spaces has increased, they are still male-dominated. Some of the same problems that are present within the corporate world in regards to women and men coworkers has translated to these independent spaces as well. Highlighted in recent years with help from the Me Too Movement, this has encouraged women to tackle the issue from many different angles. An all-female work environment was adopted by many to counteract some of those issues. Small things such as aesthetic and services provided can make all the difference between how comfortable women and men are while working; and unfortunately, those things are catered mostly to the needs of men. The Coven, an all-woman shared workspace in Minneapolis, shared that “our business is designed to provide services that allow our members to reclaim their time and be any version of themselves” (Inc.). Patriarchy has allowed men to be seemingly unscathed in the workforce but has worked against the progression of women in every facet of society.
The needs of men and women can be very different when considering a workspace. Along with being a productive environment, there also needs to be certain amenities in place to make it the most resourceful. Women usually are carrying a large load in the household so “on-site daycare facilities and other kid-friendly amenities offer working moms a short break from their home life” (Commercial Café). All of the obstacles that are present in women maximizing their potential is addressed with this unique network. Also, being in the vicinity of one another guarantees chances for networking and collaborating on neighboring projects. One of the most successful women office spaces, The Wing, has been able to address personal needs, as well as, providing resources for business expansion. “In addition to the long list of amenities (like a lactation room, beauty room, showers, library), The Wing hosts regular events and scores big names as speakers” (Inc.). The company has locations in New York and Washington DC with upcoming facilities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Toronto, and Seattle. This concept is catching on very quickly, which shows that women want to create but don’t have the support.
Female coworking spaces are integral to the advancement of women business owners. Not only do they provide business-oriented resources, but they also solve unique issues that may plague those that are hesitant. Consider your current work environment and how it effects your ability to successfully run your business. Many women are just waiting for the right circumstances to wholeheartedly pursue their entrepreneurial dreams; this may be their opportunity.