This book is for you, if you want to know why, where and how women want to work (photo by Willa, incubator in Paris)

đź“š Book review: Sisters in Arms, women in search of inclusive coworking spaces

Johanna Voll
Published in
3 min readNov 19, 2020

Ivanne Poussier offers a unique perspective about a niche coworking phenomenon that has been shaping the discourse around the future of work. One that I have been highly interested in for quite a while now: Women-focused coworking spaces around Europe.

Ivanne’s book is a thoughtfully layouted result of her interdisciplinary investigations of the current situation of coworking spaces for and by women. It gives not only a great overview of the status quo, but asks also exceptionally well phrased questions about the future of work. It explains in depth why these safe spaces are now more needed than ever (e.g. as a counterpart to well established business networks, framed by male company culture(s) and ongoing inequalities around the topic of gender in the workplace).

Openness and inclusion are core values of the coworking movement (see Coworking Manifesto). The key to running a successful coworking space is the curated community. Ivanne Poussier takes the reader along to find out which aspects are important elements of the community management.

“These safe spaces are now more needed than ever.”

This book is for you, if you want to know why, where and how women want to work — not only in coworking spaces, but also any corporate environment. You can learn about their expectations and how to meet them with a mindset of inclusion, equality and diversity. There is actually a list of ten tips to become more women-friendly in the workspace. But the author doesn’t stop there: she explains the business model and highlights four action levers to building a sustainable coworking business.

As a result of her ethnographic approach Ivanne Poussier has developed not only a taxonomy, but also a database of women-focused coworking spaces that highlight many diverse examples of profiles of individual spaces. Nevertheless the book is well structured and connects to existing studies without being too academic in nature — distinguishing it from the many research publications on coworking that have been published in the last decade.

Sisters in Arms is available in English and in French as Ebook and in print.

In sum this book gives a unique insight to a contemporary trend in the discussion on gender equality in the workplace. It’s easy to read and therefore serves a diverse audience: operators and future founders of coworking spaces, users of coworking spaces, researchers and anybody who wants to know more about women-focused coworking.

🔎📑 Don’t miss our “paper hunt”! Ivanne will also share some more facts about her exciting journey during an online event alongside the next RGCS Symposium: A Collective Challenge for more Inclusion, Diversity and Equality in Coworking Research organized by the Coworking Library from the 15th to the 17th of December 2020. If you would like to take part, join our community discord server now. If you cannot wait until December, read about it on our Coworking Library blog.



Johanna Voll
Writer for

Coworking Enthusiast, project developer, dot artist and involved in way too many coworking projects to name here.