Audrey Gelman — and her baby bump — are showing the world that women don’t need to sacrifice their careers for motherhood.
The 32-year-old CEO and cofounder of the Wing just became the first visibly pregnant woman to appear on the cover of a business magazine. The Inc magazine issue featuring Gelman will hit new stands in October.
Gelman launched The Wing in October 2016, part of a global rise in coworking spaces. The company has since grown to 10,000 members, she said in a recent interview with “TODAY.” The startup has raised $117.5 million in VC funding so far.
Gelman said she decided to appear visibly pregnant to show other women that they, too, can simultaneously run a business and start a family. In 2012, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer appeared on the cover Fortune while she was pregnant, but the magazine ran an older photo of her without the baby bump.
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Gelman told “TODAY’s” Morgan Radford. “My hope is that women see this and feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while not also shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family.”
Gelman, a New York City socialite and former press aide for Hillary Clinton, decided on the idea of a women-only coworking space after getting tired of sneaking into coffee-shop bathrooms for a place to change between home and work, she told Inc. The Wing now accepts male members after getting hit with a gender discrimination suit, but still maintains its position as a community for women. The coworking space has pump rooms, beauty products, and a “women-focused” lending library.
The Wing also separates itself from other businesses as being run by women. Gelman’s three fellow executive team members are also pregnant, she told Inc.
Though women now make up the bulk of the college-educated workforce, 43% leave work after having kids. In fact, while more women participate in the labor force now than 50 years ago, they spend even more time on childcare, according to the Pew Research Center.
Current US policies also leave little room for women to easily work and raise kids: the US is the only wealthy nation without a federal parental-leave program.
“I think it’s important to be proud and put these images out there in the world,” Gelman told Radford. “It’s important to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood.”