Why do we need women-only coworking spaces?
Those who are accustomed to the concept of a coworking space can easily envisage the benefits offered by such a place. Apart from providing a flexible work environment and the cocoon of a like-minded community, coworking spaces encourage creativity and productivity as well. It is not a surprise then that people who work in a shared office normally feel more satisfied and happier than those who work in a traditional office setup. But the emerging trend of female-centric coworking spaces around the globe and even in India raises one pertinent question: what purpose can a women-only coworking space serve that a regular coworking space cannot? To put it in another way, is there a need for a women-only coworking space? Let us take a look at the purposes that a women-only coworking space can cater to.
The empowerment factor
Much as we would like to believe that men and women stand on equal grounds as far as the professional empowerment is concerned, there’s no denying that men have always had an upper hand. This is true even in the case of women working in the metro cities of India, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. The current work culture existing in these cities and elsewhere in the country are often hostile and unaccommodating towards women, especially female entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers. This is where a coworking space for women comes into the picture. When women remain surrounded by other successful women handling entrepreneurial responsibilities and making a mark in their own way, the message comes across as loud and clear. More than anything else, such a scenario inspires and empowers other women to follow their dreams and establish their professional identity. This is something that may not always happen when one is in a male-dominated coworking space.
Opportunity to network
When it comes to the resources available for the growth of entrepreneurs, the scenario is very different for men and women entrepreneurs. Glaring gaps exist on various fronts, including mentorship, funding accessibility, and even networking. It’s a known fact that networking is integral to a successful career. A key benefit of working in women only shared office is that such a place paves organic way to meet and network with other female entrepreneurs who can provide support and career advice to those who are in need of the same. The sad truth is that females often feel prejudiced or ignored in a male-centric environment, regardless of whether they are from a metro city in India or a tier II city. This often acts as a hurdle in their career path. Being able to connect with like-minded women at various points in their career can help them to overcome the lack of mentorship and build a thriving network to take them further ahead in their career.
A feeling of safety and security
More often than not, women across various cities in India are not able to feel at home when they are working outside their homes. Whether it is a corporate environment or a regular coworking space for both the genders, one can easily feel the dominance of the male fraternity. Various studies indicate that women can feel socially isolated in male-centric workspaces. Then there is the possibility of sexual harassment, which can trigger its head anywhere and anytime. Needless to say, a woman won’t feel the same way when she works in a coworking space meant for female professionals. A female-centric workspace can instill a feeling of safety and security in her which, in turn, can help her feel more relaxed and be more productive at work. Creativity and productivity stem from a stress-free mind. In an environment where women feel completely at ease and safe, they are bound to feel more comfortable to collaborate, share ideas, and seek advice from fellow co-workers.
Affinity and support
Most women who step out of their homes to make a career or earn a living have to juggle family responsibilities as well. Regardless of whether a woman handles the role of an entrepreneur, works as a freelancer, or is a remote employee, finding work-life balance is easier said than done. If she is a mother of one or more young kids, the situation seems to be even more challenging. In a co-working office for rent for women, you are likely to come across other women who are in similar situations. This leads to an increased level of affinity among them and helps them develop a comfortable relationship based on trust and empathy. Often such relationships translate into sources for professional feedback and references as well.
The bottom line
Whether it is the start-up ecosystem or the corporate world, the playing field between the men and the women is far from being even. An all women coworking space may not be the only key to level out the field completely. But such places can enable women business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and workers to feel inspired and thrive in their professional fields effectively. After all, nothing – absolutely nothing - should stop women from being go-getters and high-fliers in their professional lives!