Women and charitable giving

Today is International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate the movement for women’s rights and gender equality. How does this relate to the work we do at The Gift Trust and encouraging charitable giving? In more ways than you might first think…


I’ve been inspired this week by two events. The first was a conference I attended in Auckland, ‘Women Give 2018’, celebrating how and why women give to charitable causes and how we might support more charities working on issues effecting women and girls. The second inspiration was an address given by our Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy yesterday to kick off a year-long celebration of 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. Dame Patsy talked about how, although the world has changed a lot over the past few decades, there is still a long way to go to reach genuine gender equality, as the recent #Metoo campaign and cases in NZ of sexual harassment at law firms has shown.


At the ‘Women Give 2018’ event, hosted by the Auckland Community Foundation and Philanthropy NZ, there were inspiring speakers talking about why applying a ‘gender lens’ to your charitable giving is helpful. Some of our donors at The Gift Trust may want to support charities focussing on women and girls or gender equality. But even for those that don’t, you can still apply a ‘gender lens’ to any charitable donation. Does the charity you want to support measure how many of their beneficiaries are women and girls? Are they ensuring that whatever service they provide is equally accessible to women and girls? Do they promote equality and diversity policy among their staff and board? These are some useful questions you could ask and if you need support The Gift Trust can help you to do this.


There are many and varied charities in NZ working on gender equality or issues effecting women and girls. Good places to start are Gender Equal NZ, the National Council of Women of NZ, New Horizons for Women Trust, the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges and the wonderful Urutapu, whom The Gift Trust have supported, who run leadership programmes for young Māori women. And there are many more.


In terms of women in philanthropy, it’s hard to find research in New Zealand of how many women make charitable donations, but international research has shown that women consistently give more than men in almost every income bracket. American research by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute shows that baby-boomer and older women gave 89% more to charity than men their age, and women in the top 25% of income gave 156% more than men in that same category.


Women sometimes like to give to charity in different ways. We tend to be more interested in collaborative giving, where we can join together with others and pool our resources. One way of doing this is by setting up a ‘Giving Circle’ and you can read this article about how The Gift Trust can support people who’d like to do this.


It couldn’t be more timely to support women’s causes. Sometimes as New Zealanders we can get complacent in a country where we have a woman Prime Minister, a woman Governor-General and 125 years of women voting. But as we’ve seen from the recent cases of sexual harassment in law firms, the 9.4% gender pay gap and the NZ launch of the #Metoo campaign, there’s still a long way to go.

As for me personally, I’ve been inspired to look at my own giving with a ‘gender lens’, and I’m looking to set up a Giving Circle among my friends. And if I need more inspiration all I need to do is look at my young daughter and son - I’d like them to grow up into a world with gender equity and where they are not defined by their gender.