Do they meet the needs of female entrepreneurs?

Executive Summary

As co-working spaces have grown in popularity among people seeking to rent office space to work independently, co-working facilities designed especially for women have also spread. These businesses cater to female entrepreneurs by providing an abundance of collaborative space and a pleasing ambience, programs on honing business skills and opportunities to pitch potential investors. Many have also adopted formal anti-sexual harassment policies. However, co-working spaces oriented toward women have had to address whether to accept male members. While several have done so since their inception, one, The Wing, was sued recently over its female-only membership policy and has changed its rules to allow men to join.

Some key takeaways:

  • The market for co-working spaces oriented toward women seems to be growing, with several providers expanding across the United States and into other countries.

  • The cost of joining can be prohibitive for some potential members, and some facilities offer scholarships, or reduced rates for those who agree to perform volunteer duties.

  • While these facilities resemble business accelerators in some ways, they are less structured and do not require entrepreneurs to offer an equity stake in their businesses to those running the space.

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Resources for Further Study



Kinugasa-Tsui, Kenny, “Co-Working Space Design,” Images Publishing Group, 2018. An architect provides an in-depth analysis of best practices in designing co-working space.

Kwiatkowski, Angel, “Ultimate Coworking Launch Sequence: How to Build a Successful Coworking Community,” CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017. A co-working consultant offers advice, templates, checklists and tips for creating an engaging co-working space.


Fessler, Leah, “If co-working is the future, then it shouldn’t look like a frat house,” Quartz, Sept. 6, 2018, A journalist interviews Amy Nelson, CEO and founder of The Riveter, about why co-working spaces for women are necessary.

Gotthardt, Alexxa, “The All-Female Social Club Helping Creative Women Advance their Careers,” Artsy, March 4, 2018, A journalist talks with Audrey Gelman, founder of The Wing, about her inspiration for the co-working space.

Lewis-Kraus, Gideon, “The Rise of the WeWorking Class,” The New York Times Magazine, Feb. 24, 2019, A journalist examines the popularity of WeWork co-working sites.

Montgomery, Mimi, “I Got Into The Wing in DC. Here’s Why I Can’t Join,” The Washingtonian, April 12, 2018, A magazine assistant editor writes about why joining The Wing is out of her price range.

Richardson, Jillian, “The frustrating truth I learned about co-working spaces after I was sexually harassed in one,” Quartz, Dec. 13, 2016, A brand copywriting consultant and comedian describes her experience reporting sexual harassment at a co-gender co-working site.

Reports and Studies

“2019 Small Business Owner Report: The Male vs Female Divide,” PlanBeyond, accessed Feb. 15, 2019, An analysis of the attitudes, hopes and concerns of male and female business owners.

Spreitzer, Gretchen, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett, “Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces,” Harvard Business Review, September 2015, Three academic researchers analyze why people feel more productive in co-working spaces.

The Next Step


Castrillon, Caroline, “Why It’s Time For Female Entrepreneurs To Break The Money Taboo,” Forbes, Feb. 17, 2019, Female business owners need to become more comfortable seeking outside funding if their companies are to succeed, according to a business and life coach.

Penrod, Emma, “Why Men Should Invest In Women-Owned Businesses,” Utah Business, Feb. 13, 2019, A gender bias in venture capitalism puts female entrepreneurs at a disadvantage, and more female investors are needed to help level the playing field, says a science and technology journalist.

Sweeney, Deborah, “Female Founders Fund On Why Investing In Female Talent Matters,” Forbes, Jan. 24, 2019, A New York-based, female-run venture capital firm invests in businesses founded by women and has established a supportive community of entrepreneurs.


Spencer, Erin, “Is There A Case For Women-Centric, Co-Ed Coworking Spaces?” Forbes, Jan. 7, 2019, Hera Hub and The Riveter are designed for women, but membership is open to men to encourage inclusivity and cooperation, say the female founders of the companies.

Steinmetz, Katy, “Women-Only Spaces Are Part of a Coworking Craze. Some Might Also Be Violating the Law,” Time, April 20, 2018, The growth of the co-working industry has led to a rise in spaces marketed to niche audiences, such as the LGBTQ community, according to a Time correspondent.

Westphall, Kimber, “How New Co-Working Concept The Slate Plans to Stand Out,” D Magazine, Feb. 18, 2019, The Slate, a new co-working space in Dallas founded by two women, is geared toward women, but membership is open to both genders.


Global Workspace Association
2225 E. Bayshore Road, Suite 100, Palo Alto, CA 94303
An association of professionals who own, design, operate and invest in shared workspace.

Hera Hub
8885 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 237, San Diego, CA 92108
Co-working site for women founded in 2011.

594 Dean St., Brooklyn, NY 11238
Co-gender co-working site with 29 locations across the United States.

747 Belmont Pl. E., Seattle, WA 98102
A market research and strategy agency that looks at the state of small-business owners.

The Riveter
1517 12th Ave., Suite 101, Seattle, WA 98122
Co-working space for women with four current locations and five more planned for 2019.

Rowan Tree
280 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon, VA 20170
A co-working space for women in the Washington suburbs.

115 W. 18th St., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10011
A co-gender co-working site with 562 locations across the country and overseas.

The Wing
45 E. 20th St., Penthouse, New York, NY 10003
A co-working and social club for women with six locations and five more to open in 2019.

DOI: 10.1177/237455680507.n1