As women, we are all painfully aware of the gender gap in workplace pay that continues to exist in America and around the world, but did you know that there’s also one in giving? But that’s a positive.
According to a 2016 Wall Street Journal article, women are more likely to give, and to give more, than men in similar situations. Research at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has found consistently that women and men give differently. In one study, baby boomer and older women gave 89 percent more to charity than men their age, and women in the top 25 percent of permanent income gave 156 percent more than men in that same category.
There’s also evidence that women give more than their male peers at virtually all income levels, even though women in general earn less and have less money in retirement than men, and have a greater life expectancy. In other words, even though women tend to have fewer available resources as they age, they are giving larger portions of their wealth to charity than men.
In trying to explain such differences, this same research found that women tend to be more altruistic and empathetic than men, partly because of the way men and women are socialized regarding caring, self-sacrifice and the wellbeing of others. Research also suggests that men tend to make charitable gifts when an appeal frames the donation as being in their self interest or as a way of maintaining the status quo, while women tend to give to promote social change or help others who are less fortunate.
In this season of giving, it’s really the perfect opportunity to highlight the ways in which we, as both women and women business owners, give back in our communities and to causes that are close to our hearts.
For me personally, I believe that community service is a critical part of being both a parent and business owner. As a parent, it’s important to immolate a service attitude for your children, and school functions and church functions are great opportunities to participate—often together. As a business owner, it’s important to give back to the community that supports your small business. That can be through time, referrals or money. You may have expertise that can help a non-profit, or you can volunteer hours, or just donate money, to support their efforts.
I try to give back at all of these levels. Some of the causes I am involved in are helping an orphanage in Haiti through my church by giving money. We have also adopted a child through a mission in Africa, where we pay a set amount each month that goes toward his schooling and other needs. Additionally, I volunteer on boards and usually focus on those that involve children or domestic violence. I also participate in walks to raise awareness and money—usually with my family and with co-workers—and as a business, we create T-shirts specifically for these events. We have supported the Hubbard House that supports victims of domestic violence, breast cancer causes (an employee of mine is a survivor!) and the American Cancer Society, for which I have helped to raise funds as well as served on the fundraising board.
In what ways do you give back to your community? I’d love to hear from you! Meanwhile, enjoy this month’s issue of NAWBO ONE. It contains some great ideas for women business owners looking for ways to give back as well as success stories from our philanthropic NAWBO sisters. You’ll also read about the new Giving Tuesday campaign, a great opportunity for all of us to give back in a meaningful way!
—Teresa Meares, 2016-2017 NAWBO National Chair