Nomadic Thinkers, a Brisbane-based startup has announced an “innovate way to address male related social issues.” The solution — establishing Australia’s first co-working space exclusive to men.
Backed by six investors and soon-to-operate through a “hybridized co-working model with a gym space,” membership to the same will open exclusively to men in January 2017, after finalizing lease negotiations.
Founders Matthew Mercer and Samuel Monaghan pitch that their hybrid space was a response to a “lack of social support and community,” saying that a men’s only space could act as a “preventive measure,” against depression and suicidal tendencies, which he linked to domestic violence.
The startup was widely criticized when in an interview, Monaghan explained the need for a men’s only space — “We both had a mate who ended up in a violent situation with his wife. He pushed his wife over.”
According to Monaghan, domestic violence is an issue that stems from depression in many cases. He adds,
Depression and suicide result from a lack of social support and community. Having a space where they [men] can be men is more of a preventative measure. Healthy, happy men don’t hit their wives.
According to Professor Marian Baird, the Director of the University of Sydney’s Women and Work Research Group says that Nomadic Thinkers risk reinforcing damaging prejudices that could harm women.
I think the outcome of making it a male only workplace; the disadvantages and prejudices that could flow from that outweigh any benefits they think they’re providing.
Stating that these sectors is already heavily masculine, Professor Baird said that such a move further entrenches that masculinity. It is unlawful to make hiring decisions or deny services of the basis of gender in Australia, Professor Baird suggested that the co-working exclusivity could fall into legal grey area.
Nomadic Thinkers have acknowledged that the creation of a gender-restricted co-working space is bound to “ruffle some feathers.”
Little did they know that they would be unleashing much more — being criticized for excluding women in the startup space(which is already male-dominated) and being ridiculed on social media!