There is a new space specifically for women in Richmond, and it's the first of its kind in the state.
"The Broad" opens on North Foushee Street on Monday, after months of planning and preparation. It will be Virginia’s first modern workspace and social club for women.
"I really see 'The Broad' as this new wave for women's clubs," Ali Greenberg, the mastermind behind the project, said.
Greenberg, a Richmond transplant from New York City, said there will be a workspace, clubhouse and community center that will offer an inclusive and creative environment.
"Women who come here will find people working at our communal table during the day, taking a meeting over coffee in our lounge or boardroom," Greenberg said. "They'll also find in the evenings a lot of social and programming activities like book clubs, screenings, talks, panels, workshops."
The space comes at a time when a women's movement is happening nationwide.
The #MeToo movement highlighted the widespread prevalence of sexual assault against women in the country over social media. Also, between the gender pay gap, occupational segregation and disparities in political representation, women are still lagging behind.
Women generally earn around 80 cents for every dollar men earn in the United States.
The Broad gives women a space to call their own, and a place where they can turn for support.
"There is the elephant in the room of the women’s movement as a whole. We want to build off of that momentum and create more space to solidify, strengthen and create access and opportunity where we can all come together and organize in one place," Greenberg said. "The latest iterations of these women's clubs actually started before the election and they gained strength and new meaning after the election of 2016. By no means is this a direct response to that, but it’s been a long time coming to make more spaces for women, and I think the time now is, unfortunately, more right than ever.
The Broad also has a library, a kitchen and even a room for new mothers to pump breast milk. Everything inside The Broad was created and designed by women, including the wallpaper, murals and books in the library.
Greenberg said the facility is a way to help women navigate a world that has not been working with their concerns in mind.
"Ultimately what we are solving is a design problem, and that's been an influence in the social and political scene. The only reason this movement has had to exist is because of the way the system was designed against us," Greenberg said. "Everything from big issues like systematic oppression, wage inequality to small things like the air conditioning temperature in your office always being set to a comfortable temperature for your male colleague, the world has been designed for men and not for us. So being able to create a space that in some ways is a direct response and in other ways is just a natural progression in the way things are moving."
There are already more than 100 founding members, including Virginia Strobach and Michelle Mercurio.
"It's not just a space for likeminded people,” Mercurio said. "But a space to connect, which women innately are very good at doing. It’s a space to hold space for us."
Memberships at The Broad start at $75 a month. You can find out more information at the facility's website.
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