From increased attention on incidents of sexual harassment and assault, to calls for equal pay and representation in leadership roles, to policies affecting reproductive rights, women’s and girls’ causes continue to capture society’s interest. Issues of inequality, including gender disparities, have been further magnified by the public health and economic crises brought on by COVID-19, as well as increasingly urgent calls for racial justice following the killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans. at the hand of law enforcement. Yet, the Women & Girls Index (WGI), first introduced by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) in 2019, revealed that philanthropic support for organizations dedicated to women and girls does not appear to be keeping pace with society’s interest in these issues.
The WGI is the only systematically generated, comprehensive index of charitable organizations dedicated to women and girls in the United States. WPI developed the Index to provide those who study and practice philanthropy, as well as policy makers and the general public, with a better understanding of the landscape of women’s and girls’ organizations, especially the levels of private contributions they receive. The inaugural 2019 WGI report provided a snapshot of this information for 2016, the most recent year for which finalized data were available. The current report builds on this groundbreaking research by adding data for five additional years: 2012 to 2015 and 2017. This expansion offers the first longitudinal look at how philanthropic support for these organizations has changed in recent years.
The new WGI data cover a period that includes events such as the 2016 presidential election and Women’s March that brought increased attention to women’s and girls’ causes and spurred charitable giving to issues like reproductive rights and equal representation. However, philanthropic support motivated by the #MeToo. and Time’s Up movements largely occurred after 2017 and is therefore not reflected in the current report. The research findings also do not include charitable giving in response to current events like the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic recession—which have had a disproportionate impact on women—nor the widespread racial justice protests that occurred in 2020. Rather, the findings serve as a starting point for understanding trends in philanthropic support for organizations dedicated to women and girls, and will be updated on an ongoing basis as the funding environment for these organizations continues to evolve.
Donors can use the research to identify gaps in resources and to inform strategies that align with the unique needs and characteristics of women’s and girls’ organizations.