Walk into any startup co-working space and you’ll likely see more men than women. Walk into this one though, and you won’t see any at all.
Two entrepreneurs in Brisbane, Australia are establishing a co-working space that’s open to men only. Nomadic Thinkers, “aims to launch men in business and life,” and has reportedly received funding from six investors.
The group aims to “bring together the best minds, most refined knowledge, the soundest principles and proven methods to help you flourish across all areas of your life, whether it be finances or health, relationships or masculinity,” according to Nomadic’s Facebook page (which was made private on Nov. 2 as news of their new space spread.)
Nomadic Thinker co-founder Samuel Monaghan told Australian pop culture site Junkee that while women could enter the co-working space’s front desk area, they’d be barred from access to the main premises, which include office space, a cafe, and a gym. He said he founded the space in response to the “stoic culture” men were forced to live in.
“As guys in Australia we’re told to suck it up. When women are around we have trouble being vulnerable,” he told the site. “We’re helping men who are professional. It’s a healthy environment for men.” He also implied that men without such a safe space are more prone to depression, and to domestic violence. “Happy, healthy men don’t hit their wives,” he said, citing a “mate” who had “pushed his wife over.”
The interview quickly sparked controversy in Australia, and critics mocked the startup’s rationale:
Telling men and women that they need to work separately, and that’s the answer to a crisis of masculinity? Good lord. Real men and women respect each other.
The company outlines membership plans with bro-friendly names like “The Bear Grylls” ($45 a week for unlimited hot-desking and gym time) and “The Musk Have” ($85 a week for the Bear plus a locker). It also features blog posts about startup culture like “The Life Cycle of Startups—Part One” and masculinity, including “Are You a Pathetic Man Child?.”
Earlier blog posts, which were removed after the Junker interview brought attention to their website, bemoaned the rise of feminism and workplace diversity, and offered solutions for the lack of “quality” women in the dating pool, Huffington Post reported.
Nomadic Thinkers responded to Quartz’s questions about the startup with a link to a statement citing statistics of depression and suicide rates among men, but didn’t answer any practical questions about its funding round.