Women’s Coworking is more than blowouts + “No Boys Allowed”

 

In the first two weeks of 2017, as the moon swelled to fullness, so did Shecosystem. The first week back was quiet with kids still out of school and people staying home enjoying some solitude after the busy holiday season. But day by day, old and new faces started showing up.

 

They came to get back to work, to reconnect, to be witnessed as they shared their intentions for the New Year.  They came to socialize, and to work quietly. They came to hug friends, to meet clients, to host workshops, to ask for and to offer help.

 

They came for yoga classes and meditation circles, Coworking + Wellness, Meetups, the Women in Biz Network Mentor Mastermind, and our first All Member’s Meeting. In 2017, I know that there are lots of reasons people will come to Shecosystem.

 

Apparently, women’s coworking is kind of a thing right now. Just ask the Wall Street Journal and Business Week.

 

I’m not crazy about the “No boys allowed” tone of these headlines. Shecosystem is a women’s space, that’s for certain, but we welcome both women-identified people and allies of all genders. This is a controversial stance in many feminist circles that we will continue to evaluate based on member feedback. As I see it, we’re all about honouring feminine capital (see Orser & Eliott’s excellent book on this) in business for anyone who feels that these competencies, qualities and values have been suppressed and devalued by the patriarchal working world. It’s not about creating a club where girls rule and boys drool, as this condescending headline implies. We’re adults creating safe spaces for ourselves to exist and express – not exclude.

 

 

Another thing that irks me about these articles (which were clearly written in response to a kick-ass PR campaign by New York’s http://rzocoruse.comThe Wing” ) is how much airtime they give to blow-outs, expensive quinoa bowls and boutique beauty products. And it kills me when  the Bloomberg article says:

 

A man walks through the elevator doors, and Gelman throws him a friendly wave. “That’s our AV guy,” she says. “He’s basically the only man that comes through here.”

 

As if a space that boasts a library of over 1000 books by women couldn’t find an AV gal in all of New York City? I’m sure there’s much more to this space than “Women who look like they stepped out of an Urban Outfitters ad.” The Wing’s members are smart, fierce businesswomen and my beef is not with them – it’s with the media coverage.

 

Granted, The Wing does position itself as a pit-stop for women who don’t want to schlepp home to Brooklyn to change and do their hair between work & play.  In contrast, part of the reason I started Shecosystem is to give women a place to gather that’s NOT about shopping or beauty. A place to gather that’s about the wholeness of women’s experiences.

Shecosystem is less about dressing for success than it is about showing up to greet success in all your realness. It’s about succeeding by cultivating a positive relationship with the messiness of business and life rather than sanitizing or prettifying it.

 

These articles get women’s coworking on the map – and that’s a great thing – but I’d love to see some coverage that focuses more on the real value of women-positive coworking spaces and their role in advancing the aims of the feminist entrepreneurship movement (more on that in Liisbeth Magazine).

 


What do you think about our gender-inclusive policy? Do you wish we had a blowout bar? Get in touch – I want to know.

 And if you want to try working at Shecosystem and see if this feels like your work-life space, come spend a week here for free.