- Audrey Gelman, the CEO and cofounder of The Wing, is the first visibly pregnant CEO to appear on the cover of a business magazine.
- Gelman, 32, said she decided to appear visibly pregnant to show other women that they too can simultaneously run a business and start a family.
- Though women now make up the bulk of the college-educated workforce, many leave work after having kids.
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Audrey Gelman – and her baby bump – is showing the world that women don’t need to sacrifice their careers for motherhood.
Gelman, 32, the CEO and cofounder of the women-focused coworking space The Wing, just became the first visibly pregnant CEO to appear on the cover of a business magazine. The Inc. magazine issue featuring Gelman will hit newsstands in October.
— Audrey Gelman (@audreygelman) September 18, 2019
Gelman launched The Wing in October 2016, amid a global rise in coworking spaces. The company has since grown to 10,000 members, she said in an interview with the “Today” show on Wednesday, and has raised $117.5 million in venture-capital funding.
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 of Fortune while she was pregnant, but the magazine ran an older photo of her without her baby bump.
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Gelman told “Today’s” Morgan Radford, adding, “My hope is that women see this and, again, feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family.”
Gelman, a New York City socialite and former press aide for Hillary Clinton, told Inc. that she 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.
The Wing was recently hit with a gender-discrimination suit and now accepts men as members but 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 because it’s run by women. Three of Gelman’s fellow executive team members are also pregnant, she told Inc.
Though women now make up the bulk of the college-educated workforce, “mothers with children younger than 18 are less likely to participate in the labor force now than they were in 2000,” the Pew Research Center said in 2017. And a survey that year found that 34% of women didn’t return to work after giving birth.
Plus, while more women participate in the labor force now than 50 years ago, they spend even more time on childcare, Pew found.
Existing 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 still think it’s so important, again, to be proud and to put these images out there in the world,” Gelman told Radford, adding that it’s also important “to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood.”