Women more generous, more likely to donate

November 2nd, 2010

Women are more generous than men when it comes to charitable donations, a study released today suggests.

In all income groups, women are more likely to give, and in four of five groups, they give more than men do — sometimes twice as much, according to the study by the Women's Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy.

"Women have just been socialized as the care-givers in their families to be more empathetic and altruistic," says Debra Mesch, director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute. "I think this is being manifested in giving to charity."

It's not just character, though, Mesch says.

She explains, "We know that the primary factors for philanthropic giving are wealth, education and income. We see, especially in the USA, extraordinary gains in those areas for women."

In the study's middle range of income, $43,500 to $67,532, the average donation was $728 from women, $373 from men.

The report, Women Give 2010, found never-married and divorced women more likely to give than their male counterparts, and they gave more. Widows were less likely to give than widowers.

Paulette Maehara, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, says the findings are a natural outcome of more women earning more money.

"I don't think it says men are not giving," Maehara says. "I think it says more about the lifestyle changes that we are seeing in our own society. "

Mary Ellen Capek, a philanthropy consultant to charities, says she has been skeptical of previous research showing gender differences, but the new study "is a very responsible piece of work."

Paul Schervish, though, is still skeptical. "The findings are not solid enough to support the report's remarkable claim that it has finally clarified the inherent difference in charitable generosity between men and women," Schervish, director of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, said in an e-mail. "We may be witnessing the birth of a myth."

The study used data from 2007 on single-headed households from the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study.


Provided by http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/mind-soul/doing-good/2010-10-21-1Acharity21_ST_N.htm

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