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HOW CAN WOMEN-CENTRIC COWORKING SPACES HELP BRIDGE GENDER DISPARITY?

coworking offices

Battling a culture of erasure and oppression for aeons, women have finally emerged at the forefront of public and private spaces, owing to radical waves of social justice and phenomenal women leading diverse realms. Post participation in the coworking tidal wave with great gusto, women are now becoming an integral part of coworking – be it for small businesses or world-class conglomerates. Can the rise in women-centric coworking spaces help bridge gender disparity? Let us look at a few statistics in order to understand the phenomenon at length.

While gender population gaps start at birth, owing to female infanticide and the abandonment of the female child, women comprise 48.5% of the world’s population.

Only 46.8% of women are enrolled undergraduate students, a statistic highlighting the need for high-level education for women, which in turn, can warrant better employment and pay rates.

Battling on uneven grounds, only 38% of women hold managerial positions as opposed to 62% of men. Tackling income disparity, loss of income due to motherhood, and occupational segregation, women in office spaces persevere and fight for recognition based on their merits to this day.

As per the McKinsey Global Institute Report, if India had better gender parity, it would be able to garner a whopping 700 BILLION+ of additional GDP in 2025. This would boost the country’s annual GDP growth by 1.4 percentage points!

While more organizations and campaigns, [such as the UN-backed HeForShe and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, 2009] are aiming towards the demolition of gender pay bias, the issue still persists on a global scale. This is where women-centric coworking spaces come into the picture: these spaces are not only open, community-driven, and accountable but also safer for women due to their ergonomic designs which facilitate culpability and close scrutiny. Such offices help bring both genders on equal ground, ensuring security for and healthy collaboration between one and all. Needless to say, without diversity and the amalgamation of distinct and variable skills, the productivity and quality of any workplace are bound to take a hit.

As safety is a universal issue that plagues women in the workplace, wherein women of all hierarchies are subjected to various instances and degrees of sexism and harassment, women wish to feel safe and cherished for their professional abilities. Women-centric shared spaces solve this issue to a certain extent by having strict sexual harassment policies, along with an unbiased internal complaint and redressal committee in place. With 72.7 million women working in and leading diverse economic, political, and socio-cultural domains, there has been a substantial rise in the number of women availing higher education and assuming mid-level to senior-level roles in order to contribute heavily to the economy.

As more and more women proceed towards breaking the glass ceiling in their professional lives, we witness them claiming roles which previously were viewed as the prerogative of men. Examples abound:

  • Sabina Chopra co-founded Yatra, which is now one of the largest travel websites in India, wherein she is currently the COO of corporate hotels.
  • Mehvish Mushtaq became a successful app designer at the tender age of 23 and created the groundbreaking app, Dial Kashmir.
  • Mallika Srinivasan is the Chairperson and CEO of Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited and has been lauded as one of the ‘Top 50 Asian Power Businesswomen’ by Forbes Asia.
  • Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is the Chairman & MD of Biocon Limited, one of the leading biopharmaceutical companies in India.

Combining concentrated efforts in the realm of women empowerment with the proliferation of holistic women-centric coworking spaces, we can usher in a future characterised by gender parity, equal opportunities, and the demolition of gender stereotypes. After all, the future is feminine.

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