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Girls allowed: why women-only co-working spaces are the latest office trend

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Moya Crockett
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It’s not hard to see the appeal of a co-working space. From flexible hours to the sense of camaraderie that can flourish when a diverse group of people come together to work in the same place, evidence suggests that employees who spend their time in a co-working space generally feel happier, healthier and more satisfied than those who slog away in a regular office.

And according to a new report in Bloomberg, a new sub-trend is emerging from the rise of co-working spaces: women-only workspaces.

Community workplaces designed specifically for women have sprung up in US cities including New York, Washington D.C., Phoenix and St. Louis. Over in Europe, Stockholm was the first city to boast a female-only shared office space. (Of course.)

audrey gelman

Audrey Gelman, the founder of Manhattan woman-only co-working space the Wing.

Part of the purpose of these female-only spaces is to allow women to work – and network – away from the frustrations of a male-dominated office culture. “Women are craving community, connection, and confidence, and that’s what we’re going to give them,” Stacy Taubman, 38, tells Bloomberg. Taubman is the founder of Rise Collaborative, a co-working space set to open in St. Louis in January. Members will be offered networking events, a book club, and the chance to get involved with mentoring teenagers.



In New York, woman-only shared workplaces include the SheWorks Collective, New Women Space, and the Wing, founded by public relations expert (and childhood friend of Lena Dunham) Audrey Gelman. Glamorous original members of the Wing include Leandra Medine of Man Repeller fame, model and trans activist Hari Nef, and Jenna Lyons, the president of J.Crew.

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Gelman says that she drew inspiration from the women’s clubs of late 19th and early 20th century America, where women would gather for study clubs and reading groups. The mission of the Wing, she tells The Cut, is to enable “fellowship with women from different background, but [ones with] similar values and passions”.

There are currently no female-only co-working spaces in the UK, but it’s estimated that there are thousands of mixed-gender flexible workspaces across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with notable spots including east London’s Techspace and Manchester’s Assembly. And given that the number of people working from shared community offices around the world is expected to rise to over 1 million by autumn this year, it seems only a matter of time before we get our very own woman-only spot. We’ll see you there...

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women's Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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