Women More Likely to Give to Women's and Girls' Causes

Women are more likely than men to give to charity and support women's and girls' causes, and tend to give more to those causes, the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds.

Based on a survey and focus groups, the report, Giving to Women and Girls: Who Gives, and Why? (51 pages, PDF), found that 72.1 percent of female respondents gave to charity in 2014, compared with 66.9 percent of male respondents, while men gave more on average. Among respondents who gave, 46.7 percent of women reported donating to at least one cause that affects women and girls, compared with 37.1 percent of men, while women tended to give larger amounts to those causes than men did. Women also were more likely to report supporting specific types of organizations and issues within the field, including domestic violence organizations, women's centers, LGBT rights, cancer care and research, and economic opportunities for women and girls.

When asked how they prioritize giving to women and girls, 14.6 percent of all survey respondents said they supported causes specifically affect women and girls, while 29.4 percent said they gave to organizations that focus on women and girls but not for a specific issue. However, 56 percent of respondents said they did not focus their giving on women and girls — with no significant difference between male and female respondents. In addition, the report found that only 1.2 percent of the total value of gifts of at least $1 million from U.S. donors announced between 2000 and 2014 were directed specifically to women's and girls' causes.

Funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the study found that in focus groups conducted with donors to United Way and women's funds, women reported giving to women's and girls' causes based on their personal experiences, including having children and being subjected to discrimination, and the belief that giving in support of women and girls provides the best social return. The participants also noted three barriers to increasing and broadening support for women's and girls' causes — the complexity and scale of issues such as equal rights and domestic violence and the difficulty of effecting significant change; a reluctance to prioritize women's and girls' issues over those of men and boys; and the fact that many women's and girls' issues are embedded in contentious social and political issues.

"Giving to Women and Girls: Who Gives, and Why?." IUPUI Women’s Philanthropy Institute Report 05/24/2016.