With the Time’s Up movement and gender inequality grabbing headlines across the world, there’s never been a better time for female entrepreneurs to step into the limelight. Women-only coworking spaces are springing up to nurture this new generation of innovators in creative environments that help them thrive.
Female coworking spaces are more plentiful in the US but a ripple effect is happening in other countries like the UK, where women-only clubs are bursting onto the scene in London as an antidote to gentlemen’s clubs.
Creating micro-economies for the entrepreneurs who inhabit them, these spaces are championing a new work-life balance for women.
Here are seven of the best women’s coworking spaces.
The Coven, Minneapolis
Situated in Minneapolis’s North Loop neighbourhood, The Coven is a warehouse-style coworking office that’s open to women and non-binary folks. The coworking space is framed by bare brick walls and high ceilings and is home to a wide range of entrepreneurs from finance and technology to community activism. A regular programme of events offers practical help to members, covering topics ranging from nutrition, business and coding skills to astrology at the more cosmic end of the spectrum. The Coven also runs a scholarship programme, which awards free year-long memberships which are funded by full-paying members.
Best for: Business diversity in the Mid-West
Cost: $140 a month for social membership, $225 for full membership which includes unlimited workspace access
Where: 30 N 1st Street, Minneapolis, MN
The Wing, New York, DC and San Francisco
Founded by Lauren Kassan and Audrey Gelman in 2016, The Wing is a contemporary take on the women’s club movement that took hold of New York in the 19th and 20th century. ‘Women’s clubs played a pivotal role in at certain times of social and political change, specifically around suffrage,’ says Gelman. ‘Here we are 100 years later, amidst times of social and political change – we hope to be a resource and a haven for women living today.’
The duo enlisted an all-female design team of architect Alda Ly and interior designers Chiara de Rege and Hilary Koyfman to create their first Flatiron space, which Koyman described as ‘kind of like Mad Men – without the men’.
After attracting $32m investment from coworking giant, WeWork, The Wing has now grown to six spaces – with outposts slated to open in Chicago, Boston and London this spring, and Toronto and Seattle in 2020.
Best for: Creatives in the media
Cost: Membership starts from $185* per month
Where: NYC, Brooklyn, San Francisco and DC
The AllBright, London
‘A woman must have money and a room of her own,’ wrote Virginia Woolf in her seminal feminist manifesto A Room of One’s Own. This statement is at the core of new London women’s member’s club and coworking space The AllBright, which launches today in Bloomsbury. Its name is inspired by former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who said: ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.’
An offshoot of the women-led funding initiative of the same name, The AllBright is less a formal coworking space and more a place to host meetings, socialise, collaborate and network.
‘Quite often when you have a mixed environment, men tend to dominate discussions and women tend to hold back,’ says cofounder Anna Jones. ‘In a female environment, women are more likely to speak up, share experiences, talk about their successes, and be a bit more open and honest about some of the challenges that they face – because frankly, it’s quite hard to be the only woman in the room.’
The AllBright is set within a five-storey Georgian townhouse with interiors designed by studio No.12. It offers workspace, meeting rooms as well as treatment rooms for relaxation, meditation and therapeutic treatments. (Founding member and Sky News anchor Sarah-Jane Mee quipped to the FT, ‘You can be a feminist and still enjoy a blow dry and yoga.’) Also on the menu is a curated list of events, debates and networking opportunities for female entrepreneurs, creatives and consultants.
Best for: Established professionals who’ve already hit their stride
Cost: Membership starts at £750 (knock off £100 if you’re under 27) and there’s a joining fee of £300
Where: 11 Rathbone Place, London
The Assembly, San Francisco
At this wellness focused clubhouse in San Francisco, members can de-stress with on-site acupuncture and cupping, yoga, and fitness classes. The Assembly inhabits a hundred-year-old former church with soaring ceilings and plenty of natural light. It’s been given a complete overhaul, with whitewashed walls and floors and new stained glass windows in soft pinks and blues. As well as a full schedule of workout sessions, members can join weekend field trips to the coast, and regular opportunities to network with fellow entrepreneurs.
The Riveter, Seattle
The Riveter is a female-forward coworking space founded by NASA Space Camp and NYU law graduate Amy Nelson. Its name evokes the image of feminist icon Rosie the Riveter, who inspired women across the US to take up their tools during WWII to keep the front supplied – and the economy booming.
The Seattle coworking provider opened its first 11,000 sq ft space in Capitol Hill and has since launched outposts in Los Angeles and Austin. Five more US spaces are on the horizon. All put wellness first, with daily yoga and barre classes and a 5 pm meditation session to formally end the day. ‘We try to build a space that’s reflective of the way women work,’ says Nelson.
Unlike some women’s coworking spaces, men are welcome at female-focussed The Riveter. Says Nelson: ‘Our goal was to change the dynamic for women entrepreneurs and business owners and I feel very strongly that to do that you have to involve all genders in the conversation or nothing will ever change.’
Best for: working moms and wellness-conscious women
Cost: $375 for a floating desk, with a dedicated desk priced at $450 per month. Private workspaces start from $750 per month.
Where: Seattle, LA, Austin
Make Lemonade, Toronto
Toronto boasts several female-only coworking spaces, but Make Lemonade is the newest and most design savvy. ‘We’re on a mission to create a community of driven women who create, dream and get.sh*t.done,’ they say. They do this from a yellow and pink infused workspace in the city’s downtown core.
Make Lemonade is the brainchild of freelancer Rachel Kelly, who struck upon the idea for the hub after growing frustrated with working from coffee shops. ‘I created Make Lemonade because, as a freelancer, the struggle of not having a home base was real,’ says Kelly. ‘I was tired of hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop with dodgy Wi-Fi and limited seating. My mission was to create an office space that lived inside my imagination.’
Studio MMNT Design crafted the interiors for the 3,000 sq ft-space, which does welcome male identified visitors – so long as they relate to the space’s feminist values.
Best for: young entrepreneurs who want flexible membership packages
Cost: drop-in sessions from $30 for ‘the zest’, while a whole lemon will set you back $500 per month
Where: 326 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
The Hivery, Mill Valley
The Hivery offers a more relaxed take on coworking, with a bright space that feels more like a shared living room than an office. Member sit around wooden tables and bask in sunlight that streams in through huge arched windows. Collaboration is The Hivery’s focus, and its inspiration lab and incubator programme is designed to connect together members that are entering new fields or considering a career change. Unlike many coworking spaces, there’s no application process either, meaning The Hivery’s doors are open to all.
Best for: Women considering a career change and those looking for a mentor
Cost: $395 a month for unlimited use of the space, however, there’s also a $95 monthly community membership which just gives access to events and networking.
Where: 38 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA