Have you found yourself uncomfortable in your workplace? Either from a lack of diversity in thought, people and experience or from a lack of support for your emotional and physical needs?
The world of business was built by men and for men.
In the masculine paradigm of business there is little room for connection, creativity, emotion, or frankly, for having a body with needs that supersede those of coffee and food. The yang singular focus on productivity and results has brought us wonderful efficiency, elevated our thinking abilities and made huge gains in all areas ruled by the mind. But this rigidity and penchant to compartmentalize have not brought us closer to each other as a species, nor a balanced approach to life and work, or allowed us to be connected to our bodies in a holistic and healthy way.
The values associated with feminine energy include vulnerability, collaboration, connection, flow, creativity, and empathy. The yin promotes community and inclusivity whilst recognizing that everyone has physical bodies and emotional needs.
It’s no wonder people who embody more yin energy don’t feel at ease in the business world.
Yet, even though women make up nearly half of the labor force, instead of embracing feminine energy as equally valuable in the business setting, women have been encouraged and even required to step completely into their masculine in order to “succeed” in business. We are told not to show emotions, not to be empathetic or show compassion, we are told to compete relentlessly and those of us in female bodies are shamed and diminished for having periods, considered liabilities for having babies and nuisances for choosing to breastfeed and therefore needing to pump at work. Women are forced to compete for the one position available to us and to see other women as rivals, rather than as allies.
While the qualities of the feminine have been traditionally seen as liabilities in business, the coworking movement is based on these values.
The goal of dominating a business sector, of taking over the world, of amassing resources and killing the competition is in contrast to the coworking ethos.
We are a movement whose heart is meant to befriend and tend.
When we see ourselves in the context of being part of a global community of people choosing to work a different way, we can leave behind the old goals of being the best one in the field, and allow ourselves to work together to raise each of our communities and the people they touch. We can support each other’s differences and find value in the unique community each coworking space provides.
Women are now a solid part of the workforce, and we need to support each other as leaders and to encourage each other to be our full selves at work. We need to bring more feminine energy into the workplace. We need to care for our physical bodies.
We need to create a world where families are a priority, where having a period is not seen as a taboo, where taking time off is equally as valuable as working 80 hour weeks.
We need to bring the values of the feminine into the boardroom, the HR department, the ideation sessions, and the purchasing departments.
We need to help our male and masculine counterparts feel in touch with their feminine energy and access it as needed.
Together, we can all bring balance to the workplace and create the world we want our daughters and sons to live in.
And when we make room for each person to have a seat at the table, we build more resilient businesses, communities and everyone’s needs are met with more ease.
Laura and I recognized this when we dreamt up the formation of Women Who Cowork.
We imagined a place where femme-identified people could gather and share our challenges, questions, and needs without feeling fear of showing our feminine side or being made to feel stupid or weak if we exhibited our softer emotional selves, asked the wrong question or didn’t inherently know something.
Women Who Cowork does not exist to be exclusive. We are here to ensure everyone is included. Won’t you join us?