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Older women give 89 per cent more to charity than men, US study finds

Older women give 89 per cent more to charity than men, US study finds
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Older women give 89 per cent more to charity than men, US study finds

Fundraising | Jonathan Last | 24 Aug 2012

Women of the 'baby boom' generation donate 89 per cent more to charity than their male counterparts, research from the US has revealed.

Women Give 2012, a report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, states that those born in the post-Second World War ‘baby boom’ give more to charity than males of equivalent age and are more likely to give, when education, income and other factors affecting giving are equal.

“Women, in general, earn less and have less money in retirement than men, and they have a greater life expectancy,” said Debra J. Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. “Although some may have concerns about their financial security, our study suggests that Boomer and older women share their resources with others more generously than their male peers.”

Among those who are in the top 25 per cent of permanent income, ‘Boomer’ and older women give 156 per cent more than similarly situated men.

The Institute claims that this study is among the first to examine the combined effects of age and gender on charitable giving. It uses data from 2003 to 2007, with controls for financial resources over the individual’s lifetime and adjustments for life expectancy.

Women more altruistic

“Our previous research has found that women tend to be more altruistic than men and that their giving frequently is motivated by the desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” Mesch continued. “Additionally, women’s strong networks may keep them more connected to both the needs of others and to opportunities to give.”

She added that these so-called ‘Boomer’ women are transforming philanthropy through innovative new charitable organisations and new ways to engage in charitable activity.

“Understanding their giving habits provides insights into the future of philanthropy and helps women understand the context for their own personal giving,” Mesch said.

“The giving habits of Boomer and older women are a powerful reminder about the importance of gender in philanthropy.”

The full report is available from the Center on Philanthropy’s website.

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