Diversity In Tech: How Coworking Supports Nerd Girls

women in coworking GCUC

Ask anyone to list off the most famous nerds or successful geeks they can think of and you’ll hear a laundry list of dudes:

Bill Gates
Steve Jobs
Mark Zuckerberg
Biz Stone
Craig Newmark

These guys are the creative minds behind some of the most successful technology ventures of our time, and we love/hate them for how much money and time they’ve stolen from us, but you’ve still got to wonder: where are all my ladies at?

Sure, like every industry, men have dominated the highest paying and most prestigious positions in tech for many years. But also like every industry, that’s rapidly changing. And coworking is helping.

Some stats to go with your coffee:

  •  The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, about 65 million Americans will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs, making up about 40% of the workforce.
  • As of 2012, there were almost 2,100 coworking spaces around the world.
  • 38% of all coworking space members are women (as of 2012)

Diversity is essential for continued growth and creativity in business. It doesn’t matter which type of business, but especially any business related to technology. We sometimes joke about “bro-working” but the truth is that more women entrepreneurs are finding homes in coworking spaces than ever before.

Empowered by the supportive community of their coworking spaces, these women are changing social and economic norms right before our very eyes. No longer strapped to their basements or dining room tables, these women are turning hobbies into companies, and hidden talents into new income streams. (Case in point: both start-ups that have launched out of Cohere are owned by women).

These women are also setting a long-overdue example for younger females, demonstrating that it’s no longer necessary to choose career or family, but that with coworking as a tool, it’s possible to balance both with grace and ferocity. More women in tech means a stronger, more creative tech industry, and that’s pretty awesome!

For more inspiration, please enjoy the following infographic which depicts some of the fiercest women in tech and the shape of things to come:

NewRelic_FiercestWomeninTech_FINAL1Infographic courtesy of New Relic

Top image via GCUC

Why Freelance Jobs Are More Secure Than Office Jobs

Lots of people think that freelancing is something you do when you can’t find a real job. Freelancers know, however, that there’s nothing more real than being the CEO, COO, and CFO of a small business all at once.

Some people say they could never live without the security of a traditional job. And I say, what’s so secure about it? What’s so great about living with the fear that an HR person you’ve never met will decide your job’s not necessary any more? Or knowing that an executive in Europe could decide that the U.S. branch isn’t as profitable as it should be, and close it down tomorrow?

Here are three reasons why a room-full of independent professionals bring more stability to the local economy than a moderately-sized corporation.

 

Freelancers Are Dynamic

Saying that small businesses are more nimble than traditional companies is an understatement. In the time it takes three corporate committees to decide to begin to investigate a creative opportunity, the freelancer will decide, bring in other freelancers to collaborate, and take action to make it a reality. Freelancers are used to rolling with the punches. When business as usual stops working, they can try something completely new tomorrow, not next year.

Freelancers Have Low Overhead

Running a brick and mortar business is expensive. There are utility bills to pay, equipment to buy, and insurance to keep current. If profit margins fall low enough, these costly necessities can drive a company out of business in a matter of weeks. Freelancers on the other hand, have almost no overhead (especially if they cowork). Also, they can eat ramen noodles when the going gets tough.

Freelancers Can Do More Than One Thing At Once

Which has a better chance of surviving a down economy: a large company that does or makes one thing, or a sole proprieter that knows how to do five things? Freelancers are in it for themselves, which means they stay educated, are constantly expanding their networks, and work hard to acquire more skills that will make them competitive in their field. The days of depending on one skill or product to attract revenue are over. Companies are struggling to diversify, while the freelancer depends on diversity to stay in business.

Because of the reasons above (and many more) freelancers are both happy and stable in their work. They can’t get fired, or downsized or restructured. They don’t depend on the wisdom of invisible executives for their livelihood. They don’t worry about losing a big client because they know how find another one.

While the rest of the world gets into the unemployment line, freelancers keep paying the mortgage, shopping in local stores, feeding their kids, and paying taxes. They continue to contribute through both the bad times and the good, unlike a big company, which will probably move its business to Oklahoma City when the money runs out.

Why Are You Glad To Be  A Freelancer? Give thanks in a comment!

Image Credit: Flickr – Patrick Denker

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