KUALA LUMPUR: The first co-working space exclusively for women has been launched in Malaysia with the aim to create a safe working environment for women, especially for mothers with young children.
The unique concept at HelloHERA Hub fits into employment that is shifting towards becoming gig-based and more flexible, said Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.
“There will be many mothers who will want to use their skills to work and at the same time look after their kids.
“For many of them who would prefer not working from home, this will be an ideal space,” she said after the launch of the hub at their premises at QSentral yesterday.
Conducive working spaces for women would also help reduce incidences of child sexual abuse at unregistered childcare centres, she added.
Although ministry officers have combed the streets in Putrajaya for unregistered childcare service providers, she said, enforcement is challenging as there is still a high demand for childcare services.
Yeoh added that the women-only co-working space would provide a conducive and safe place for women in general, especially in the wake of greater public awareness of sexual harassment.
“The biggest case was the Hospital Sungai Buloh sexual harassment case and the BFM sexual harassment case.
“Compared to this time last year there is definitely greater awareness today,” she said, adding that the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute was commissioned to complete the impact study on sexual harassment by early February.
Founder Angie Chin said she was motivated to open a women-only co-working space when she found it difficult to find a suitable working area which is also child-friendly.
She recalled an incident two years ago when she had to leave her daughter in a lobby as she had to go for a meeting at another co-working space.
“I said I had enough of this. Somebody had to kickstart something, and inspire others to do something about this,” she said.
Women could walk in to use the co-working space, Chin said, and they can bring with them up to two children.
There is no age restriction for the children, she said, though it would be preferable if they were above five years of age.
Users will be charged RM15 per hour or RM27 for the whole day, while weekly and monthly rates are RM196 and RM460 respectively.
Men are also allowed into the co-working space for meetings or when they are working for special projects, she said.
“However, we give priority for women first,” she said.
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