In November 2017, the coworking company WeWork led a $32 million round of funding for the women-only coworking space The Wing, based in New York City. The Wing started in Flatiron in 2016, expanded to Soho in 2017, and plans to open spaces in Brooklyn and Washington, DC, in early 2018.
The Wing isn’t the only organization catering to entrepreneurial and freelance women looking for a place to work. Coworking options for women — both women-only and women-centric — are opening across the country.
Why women-focused spaces? Traditional co-working spaces tend to have a male-dominated culture. The founders of women-only spaces are looking to create a supportive environment designed to fit women’s needs.
“Women face more barriers and challenges,” Stacy Taubman, CEO of Rise Collaborative Workspace in St. Louis, MO, told USA Today. “Having other like-minded individuals around who can have that ‘Me too’ moment can really keep you going and feeling inspired and capable.”
Women-only spaces may offer amenities such as lactation rooms, childcare, beauty samples and sanitary supplies, and a library of all-women authors. The interior design leans more toward a female aesthetic. Some spaces offer mentorship programs and workshops geared toward the challenges women face.
Of course, some people question the concept. But Audrey Gelman, cofounder of The Wing, told Entrepreneur, “Members say they’re so much more productive, and they feel like there’s less pressure in an environment without men.”
Research supports the value of a woman-supportive environment. One study found “being the ‘token’ female could deregulate the body’s stress response – leading to greater vulnerability to illness.” Plus, a women-only environment reduces the potential for sexual harassment and stressful male-female interactions.
In addition, some women feel a different energy at a coworking space without men and are more comfortable showing up in yoga pants rather than business wear.
Here’s a sampling of women-focused coworking spaces across the country:
- Chicago, IL: Ladies Room Chicago
- Denver, CO: Women In Kind
- Detroit, MI: Femology
- Edmond, OK: The Collective
- Essex, VT: Essex Hub For Women In Business
- Glendale and Peoria, AZ: Starshine Communities
- Los Angeles, CA: Paper Dolls
- Las Vega, NV: Bloom
- Mill Valley, CA: The Hivery
- New York City: SheWorks Collective
- Phoenix, AZ: Thrive Co-Working for Women
- Pittsburg, PA: Whetstone Workgroup
- Portland, ME: CoworkHERS
- Portland, OR: The Perlene and Womens Plaza
- Roswell, GA: circle + moon
- San Diego, CA: Hatched Collective and Hera Hub
- Seattle, WA: The Riverter
- St. Louis, MO: Rise Collaborative Workspace
For women who want to cowork and find a traditional space doesn’t meet their needs, spaces created and designed for women can remove barriers and challenges and help women reach their potential.