Women-oriented workplaces are in demand, and that demand is rising, fast.
The concept of women-only workplaces isn’t new. Hera Hub, a female-focused coworking brand, launched in 2011 and many more have opened in recent years, such as Blooming Founders in London and The Riveter in the US. Perhaps the best-known example is The Wing, which is backed by the $41 billion-worth coworking brand, WeWork.
“Members say they’re so much more productive, and they feel like there’s less pressure in an environment without men,” said Audrey Gelman, cofounder of The Wing, in an interview with Entrepreneur. With a waiting list running into the thousands for their New York space alone, it’s clear to see that a significant amount of female entrepreneurs want more from their workspace, and they’re out to get it.
But it’s not just workspace. After all, thanks to advanced mobile technology, today’s entrepreneurs can plug in and work from virtually anywhere — home, a cafe, a hotel lobby, even poolside while on holiday. So what brings so many female entrepreneurs to work environments designed just for women?
It’s the same thing that brings thousands of female entrepreneurs to business support networks like Women’s Business Club. It’s about bringing like-minded professionals together for support, connections, and community.
“We are a business community of women who sincerely care for our members and empower them to succeed,” says Angela De Souza, who founded the UK-based Women’s Business Club in 2013. “We are high calibre, real women who are determined to be all we can be and to enjoy the journey.”
Tired of feeling uncomfortable and disconnected at business networking events, De Souza created the business network to create an environment in which she felt comfortable being herself and accepted as a woman in business.
From the very first event in January 2013 to today, the club works to stay true to its calling, to serve business women and support them in their growth and success whilst encouraging feminine leadership.
Of course the question remains: is it right to exclude men?
It’s a debate that continues to draw fire. “There are strong opinions for and against from both men and women alike,” says De Souza. “It’s a difficult subject and it is a matter of opinion rather than a right or wrong scenario.”
De Souza believes that: “We need men to be men and women to be women in the workplace. There is no reason for a woman to try and be like a man to get ahead, quite the opposite. Men and women are different and need those differences to bring about a healthy synergy in the workplace.
“Women, just be yourself, you don’t have to change to get ahead! Whatever that means to you, just be you!”
This is the essence of the business club and the community that De Souza set out to build back in 2013. As we see so often in workspace hubs and community-focused coworking spaces around the world, it is not about the chairs and tables, or the networking events and free snacks; those material things can be found anywhere. It’s about the support and connections that exist around you. It’s about shared experiences, knowledge, connections, and sometimes a sympathetic ear or a friendly hug, to lift the people around you and help them become more confident in themselves and empower them to succeed in business.