Melinda Gates’s $1 billion pledge to advance women and girls is attention-grabbing because of its size, but it’s also unusual for another reason.
Gates, the wife of Microsoft MSFT, -0.72% co-founder Bill Gates, will spend the money over the next decade to expand women’s power and influence in the United States.
In the world of charitable giving, devoting money to women’s and girls’ causes is a rarity. Women’s and girls’ groups received just 1.6% of charitable dollars in 2016, the most recent year for which data was available, according to a new report by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The first-of-its-kind report examined giving to organizations that serve women and girls primarily — as in Planned Parenthood or Girls, Inc. — as well as giving to collectives of women that have a philanthropic purpose, such as Junior League groups.
While there’s been a national debate on gender equity in recent years, that reckoning doesn’t appear to have had much of an effect on charitable donations, the researchers noted.
“News stories about sexual assault and harassment, as well as various policy developments and current events, have brought issues impacting women and girls to the fore of societal conversations,” the report’s authors wrote. “Does charitable giving also prioritize this population? This report shows that it has not.”