Last year, the U.S. dropped to last place on a list female participation in the labor force in leading industrialized economies, falling behind Japan. This development marked a dramatic shift for the U.S., which was in a leading position in the late 1990s―with roughly 76.7% of women ages 25-54 actively participating in the workforce―to last place in 2017, after losing 1.7% of working age women. What’s holding women in the U.S. back?
American women find themselves juggling work and family, often forced to sacrifice the former because of the scarcity of affordable childcare options. According to the National Study of Employers, 41% of U.S. companies provide access to information to help parents find daycare centers in their community, but only 7% have either an on-site daycare or one near the workplace. Several coworking offices have stepped in to support young mothers and parents who cannot afford to drop out of the labor market by providing daycare and other services.
Many women are also held back by less access to mentors, resources and opportunities to advance their careers, or feel ill at ease within the bro-culture of their workplace. Female-focused coworking offices seek to address some of these issues by providing amenities suited to women’s needs, as well as a calmer, safer environment for them and their families.
Here is our list of great coworking spaces for women:
The Inc. strives to turn underutilized spaces, such as St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Seattle, into a coworking community for like-minded parents. This Green Lake coworking office has on-site childcare for both toddlers and preschoolers, with additional work and play rooms, where children can explore and play in a safe environment under the supervision of their parents. Daycare rates can be adjusted to fit parents’ working hours, with a minimum booking of three hours for preschoolers, and two hours for toddlers. Members pay a $50 quarterly fee for Inc. memberships―which includes free coffee, tea and snacks, printing services, access to the parent-only coworking area, free or discounted classes―with additional costs for playschool rooms.
Renée, the founder of Pastel and mother or two, leads by example. Grateful for the support she enjoyed when launching her own web design firm―which she now runs from her desk at this Plymouth, Mich. coworking office space―she decided to create a workplace for other women, as well as LGBT entrepreneurs to grow their business, network and learn from each other. The average member age is 34 and 53% its clientele is working mothers, so the company strives to accommodate the needs of its growing community. Members can choose between a part-time plan, for $50 per month, a full-time plan, for $150 per month for a hot desk, or pay $300 for a dedicated desk. Private offices are also available for a $600 monthly fee. For those eager to explore the office, Pastel hands out $20-day passes.
Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life. Or rather, you will work in an environment that feels a bit like Hera Hub: a soft, spa-like space for the centered entrepreneur. Established in 2011 in San Diego, Calif., the company has since opened locations all over the U.S, and is currently looking to fulfil its self-assigned goal of supporting over 20,000 women entrepreneurs by 2020. Hera Hub offers flexible month-to-month membership plans, comprehensive business education through its Hera LABS programs, and weekly workshops. You can join this coworking community in Mission Valley, Sorrento Valley, Carlsbad, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., or at their upcoming locations in Atlanta, Houston, Irvine and Seattle.
The Wing defines itself as a ‘home base for women on their way,’ and is deeply committed to helping women and non-binary people succeed through its Wing Scholarship Program. Amenities include a special library in partnership with Strand Bookstore, showers, a beauty room and lactation rooms for mothers. No Man’s Land, the Wing’s magazine, features articles from the likes of historian Mary Beard, senator Elizabeth Warren and author Mary H.K. Choi. You can opt for a single location membership, for $215 per month, or get an all access membership to the company’s coworking offices in Midtown Manhattan (located at 45 East 20th Street), Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., as well as its future locations in San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, West Hollywood, London and Toronto, for $250 per month. This summer, The Wing has also held its first-ever Camp No Man’s Land, where members could network and bond over various outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, karaoke and dance parties.
The Coven is a coworking office space in Minneapolis targeted towards the needs of women and non-binary individuals, located at 30 N 1st Street. In addition to its light-flooded coworking areas, the hub has 2,000 square feet of rentable space for events, a prayer room and a parent room. You can try out this North Loop office space using a $40-day pass which includes access to their beauty room (stocked with organic products for all skin and hair types) and a number of complimentary beverages and snacks, courtesy of The Wedge Community Co-op. Perks also include discounts from The Coven partners, such as unlimited fitness classes for $139 per month, a 10% discount on all catering orders from The Wedge and various treats from Kado No Mise. Babies are welcome during working hours, and the company is exploring the possibility of providing childcare during scheduled evening events.
Recognizing that the lack of affordable childcare is one of the main things preventing women to continue in their ventures, EvolveHER is a Chicago coworking office with a mission. The River North office has teamed up with Sprouts Academy to provide access to daycare services within the community. The 5,000-square-foot loft at 358 West Ontario Street also hosts a Women in Tech breakfast, in partnership with General Assembly. Members get up to two hours of facetime with experts each week in order to discuss collaboration opportunities or various other topics pertaining to their industry. They are also encouraged to share their own knowledge, hosting presentations relevant business topics, and can showcase their products or brands to receive community feedback.
Creating a work environment where women feel welcomed centered around the right color scheme, soft background music and healthy snack options is one way to create a female-focused space. Denver’s Women in Kind knows that many women find themselves weighed down by their responsibilities as caretakers. So, whether it be for your elderly parents or your children, this North Denver office space is ready to provide you with the support you most need. Besides on-site childcare and elder-care resources, Women in Kind also grants members access to several other services that will make life easier for the woman trying to juggle family and career: meal planning and delivery, dry cleaning delivery and personal assistant services. Members can opt for an open desk in the coworking area ($295 per month), a dedicated desk ($515 per month), or a private office ($1200 per month).