Women give less money to charity

November 11, 1992|By San Francisco Chronicle

"Our money may be as green as men's," begins a story in Working Woman magazine, "but our attitude toward giving it away is different."

While women are likely to give time to charitable causes -- the New York Times reported last week that a group of women at the high-toned New York law firm Debevoise & Plimpton have been getting together once a week to knit afghans for the homeless -- they are less likely than men to give the green stuff. A survey taken by the Independent Sector, a non-profit group, found that men donated an average of 3.8 percent of their income in 1989; women 1.8 percent.

One reason is that women earn less; they try to save what they earn for emergencies. A second reason is that they often have no control over the family purse. Widows give away almost identical amounts to those given away by married men. Even women with inherited wealth tend to ask their husbands for permission before making a donation.

Surveys of donations to colleges have found that women are less likely than men to compete with each other and are most apt to give money to specific women's studies programs.

Women who graduated from all-women's colleges were more likely alumnae donors than women who graduated from co-ed schools.

Because baby-boomer women are statistically likely to outlive their husbands, says Working Woman, their gifts will probably change the demographics of giving in the next century.

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