Giving Compass' Take:

• Kiersten Marek analyzes the Women and Girls Index and identifies where philanthropists and grant-makers still need to improve for realizing gender equality.

• How can gender issues be related to other causes? How can funding be increased?

• Read about improving the lives of women and girls.

A giant step for gender equality research and knowledge occurred today: the Women’s Philanthropy Institute released its first ever Women and Girls Index (WGI), which measures charitable giving to women and girls’ causes in the United States. This new index helps to establish a baseline for what this giving looks like today, and will help to tally the rate of increase or, (highly unlikely) decrease in the real dollar value of this philanthropy sub-sector.

Using the new index, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute found that nonprofits focused on women and girls comprise a relatively small portion of total charitable organizations, only 3.3%, and those 3.3% receive a collective total of $6.3 billion. This $6.3 billion amounts to only 1.6% of overall charitable giving from individuals, foundations, and corporations in 2016.

From my perspective, this study confirms what we already knew: philanthropy for women and girls is still a relatively small percentage of overall giving. Some parts of giving, such as donations from Donor Advised Fund accounts, are showing a higher rate of giving toward women and girls’ causes, so there is clearly movement in new directions for this funding.

In reading this report, I also thought about the potential value of work that interrelates religion and gender equality. If you look at the chart, religious giving overall is the highest amount of charitable giving for Americans, comprising $123.8 billion in activity. What if just a fraction of that work also focused on gender equality?

Similar to gender lens investing in the finance markets, gender lens grantmaking appears to be on a trajectory of growth. The new WGI from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute is a giant step forward for tracking and interpreting this giving activity.

Read the full article about giving for women and girls by Kiersten Marek at Philanthropy Women.