By Amanda Ponzar
Two interesting reports came out recently about the power of women.
1.) Check out Forbes’ “The World’s 100 most powerful women” article or photo gallery. A few times I found myself saying, WHAT?! But it’s based on influence, so if Lady Gaga has a huge social media following, she’s powerful like a CEO, Supreme Court Justice or Secretary of State.
2.) And then there’s new research, “Women Give 2010” from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, that found “women at virtually every income level are more likely to give to charity and to give more money on average than their male counterparts.” In many cases, women give twice as much as men. The study discusses the incredible giving power women have –- the power to make a difference.
What the study didn’t talk about was WHY.
Why do women give more? It's not because they have more money. Are women just more generous? Caring? Emotionally susceptible to charitable pleas? Easy targets? (Wall Street Journal titled their blog post “why women are more charitable than men” but never answered the question.)
When I thought about major philanthropists, the only names that came to mind were men: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rockefellers. Where are the women? I started asking around and got a few nominations:
- Angelina Jolie
- Teresa Heinz (ketchup)
- Doris Buffett (sister of Warren) of the Sunshine Lady Foundation
- Leona Helmsley (left $12 million to her dog)
- Joan Kroc of McDonald fortune
- Melinda Gates
- Hunt sisters with Women Moving Millions
A simple search found HUNDREDS of women philanthropists (so they DO exist) -- but I hadn’t heard of most of them.
One possible reason. A very smart colleague who manages Women’s Leadership Councils –- 40,000 women who raised $120 million in 2009 in addition to advocating and volunteering –- said women donors “do not like recognition” and many give anonymously. Maybe it's time women come out of the closet about giving so everyone better understands the power and influence women have.
We’ve come a long way, baby, but we’ve got a ways to go.