Female-only coworking spaces have proven to be places where women can thrive professionally. Working in an environment without men has helped some of the biggest female professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) be better at their jobs. In fact, girls-only spaces have been on the rise for the past two years and with the amazing progress they have facilitated, it looks like they are here to stay. But how can a female-only co-working space actually make a difference for women professionally? Here are only some of the benefits that these coworking spaces offer:
Women in STEM often face sexism in their day to day professional lives. When this happens in a regular office, where there are both men and women, speaking out about it is rarely something easy to do. But in a female-centric coworking office, this issue disappears. There is a sense of support because it is much easier for a woman to talk to another woman about what happened to her because she will understand and relate. Moreover, in coworking spaces, there are people who work for different companies, which facilitates communication because there is no office politics to keep track of.
Regular offices have to cater to the needs of all the employees, men and women alike. You can typically find recreation rooms, kitchens, and separate bathrooms, but there is more out there. Picture an office that has pale lavender walls, generous carpeting, comfortable chairs, drapes, plants, and extra-spacious bathrooms. That is only possible in a women-only coworking space and it can make a difference in productivity. The environment we work in has a huge influence on the quality of our work and meeting the specific needs that women have in their workplace can actually help them work more efficiently.
Aside from the female-oriented interior design, which does wonders, there is more to female-only coworking spaces. Many of them have actually included spaces for clubs and groups. These include hobbies like book clubs or yoga, but also groups and seminars about depression, anxiety, impostor syndrome, exhaustion, and many other issues that professionals are faced with. The key difference is that in a regular office, such groups would be deemed unnecessary. Moreover, attending them might be interpreted as a sign of weakness. That is clearly not the case in a women-only office, where these groups can actually help build bonds between the women working together.
Most women in STEM work in male-dominated fields, which rarely gives them the chance to interact with other female professionals in their fields. By working in a female-only coworking space, lots of women from various fields have gotten the chance to know each other. Moreover, they get the chance to exchange professional ideas every single day and even start projects together. The female revolution in tech is coming and these coworking spaces are playing a very important role in it. Why?
Because these wonderful women will actually get the chance to meet others like them and realize that they have the numbers. It might be easier to think that you are part of a minority when you are surrounded by men at your workplace, but when you expand your network with more and more female professionals, it builds a solid sense of confidence.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of young women who opt out of a STEM career because they do not want to work in a male-dominated environment. But once the idea of going to work in a female-only coworking space becomes a staple in the professional world, many of their concerns will be eliminated. In fact, these workspaces for women unite female professionals from a wide range of fields.
By helping them build a community, they are very likely to build competitive female-centric start-ups, which will become a palpable alternative for young professionals. In the following years, young women will not have to worry about being the only women in their workplaces because they will actually have a choice. Who says that the start-up world of tech has to be a male-centric territory? With every new female-only coworking space, that notion is becoming obsolete.
Coworking spaces for women only can create a much more comfortable environment for female professionals. They no longer have to work in frat-like offices, they actually have the chance to go to work in a welcoming environment that tailors to their specific needs. They also get the chance to meet other strong female professionals and build a community together that can help them face the sexism in their workplace, but that can also lay the foundation for the strong women alliances of tomorrow!
Source: Female-Only Coworking Spaces – The Future for Women in STEM – Coworking Mag