Coworking spaces have been a popular option for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers for years now. Shared workspaces like Hub:868 offer a variety of benefits such as affordable rent, a sense of community, and access to resources that would be hard to come by when working alone. But what may be less obvious is that coworking spaces can also be feminist spaces, creating opportunities for women to thrive in a still male-dominated work culture. According to a 2019 report by the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC), women make up 47% of coworking space members worldwide, compared to only 29% of traditional office workers. Furthermore, the report found that women are more likely than men to use coworking spaces as a primary workspace, suggesting that coworking may be particularly valuable for women.
Here are some ways coworking works to empower women:
Breaking down gender barriers
Coworking spaces are designed to be inclusive, and this can help to break down gender barriers in the workplace. By creating a shared space where people of all genders can work and collaborate, coworking spaces can help to break down the hierarchical structures that exist in traditional workplaces, where men often dominate senior positions.
Providing support for women entrepreneurs
According to research, women entrepreneurs face more challenges when starting a business than men, including difficulty accessing funding, lack of mentors, and a lack of networks. Coworking spaces can help to provide a supportive environment for women entrepreneurs by offering mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to resources that promote success.
Offering flexibility for working caregivers
For working parents, finding a work-life balance can be particularly challenging. Coworking spaces offer flexibility that allows parents to work around their family responsibilities. Coworking spaces like Hub:868 offer extended work hours beyond the 9-5, allowing parents to work around their own schedules. And local coworking spaces make it easy for caregivers to drop in and out as their schedules permit while avoiding a long commute thus carving out more time to focus on their work and still manage personal responsibilities.
Fostering a sense of community
Coworking spaces offer a sense of community that can be particularly important for women who may feel isolated in a male-dominated work culture. By offering networking events, social gatherings, and other community-building activities, coworking spaces like Hub:868 help women build connections with other professionals and support each other in their careers.
Providing a safe and harassment-free environment
Unfortunately, women are more likely to experience harassment and discrimination in the workplace than men. Coworking spaces can provide a safe and harassment-free environment for women to work in, where they can feel comfortable and secure. The absence of internal company politics and traditional hierarchies in coworking spaces create unsuitable conditions for workplace harassment and discrimination. A clear code of conduct enforced by an independent operator and taking swift action if incidents occur make coworking spaces a better alternative to a traditional office setting.
Coworking spaces can be feminist spaces, creating opportunities for women to thrive in the workplace. By breaking down gender barriers, providing support for women entrepreneurs, offering flexibility for working parents, fostering a sense of community, and providing a safe and harassment-free environment, coworking spaces help to create a more inclusive and equal work culture.