Women and philanthropy

Authored by: Debra J. Mesch , Andrea Pactor

The Routledge Companion to Philanthropy

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415783255
eBook ISBN: 9781315740324
Adobe ISBN: 9781317579717


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With demographic factors widely considered as being strongly related to giving, women’s philanthropy has been significantly shaped by their changing economic position and social roles. Looking at data from the US, for example, the proportion of women participating in the labour force has steadily increased, from 40 percent in the 1970s, to around 60 percent at present (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). While women’s earnings continue to be lower than men’s, over the last 25 years, the gender pay gap has decreased from 40 percent to 20 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011), the numbers of wives earning more than their husbands has grown to a total of 26 percent (Fry and Cohn, 2010), and the proportion of working women with a college degree has almost tripled (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). Similar trends can be identified globally. Of the world’s 2.9 billion workers, 1.2 billion are women, representing a worldwide increase of about 200 million women employed in the past 10 years (International Labour Organization, 2007, 2014), a growing number of women are gaining access to education (International Labour Organization, 2008), and women’s share of professional and managerial jobs is, albeit slowly, increasing (International Labour Organization, 2008).

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