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Corporate giving urged to focus on gender equality to speed up change

October 05th, 2021

A sharper focus on gender equality in corporate giving could be an important lever for accelerating equality, a new resource document reveals.

The document, entitled Sharpening Our Focus on Corporate Giving: Keeping Gender Equality in the Frame, is the result of a collaboration between the Champions of Change Coalition and Australians Investing in Women who consulted with not-for-profit leaders to identify potential opportunities for corporative giving programs that could accelerate gender equality.

The report states: “Our shared goal is to ensure that the impact of corporate giving programs accelerates progress towards gender equality by bringing women and girls into focus, and that well-meaning ‘gender neutral’ giving programs are not underserving women and girls unintentionally.’’

The consultation reviewed corporate giving practices and processes to understand the extent corporate giving was benefitting women and girls (The terms “women and girls’ includes all cisgender, transgender, non-binary and intersex people who identify as women) equitably compared to men and boys.

The result is a resource that sets out a framework to assess corporate giving and community partnership programs to better understand the beneficiaries of the money, time, product, and in-kind investment given to the not-for-profit sector to help and solve some of our communities’ most challenging social issues.

Former Victorian Police Commissioner Graham Ashton AM says in the document: “We must acknowledge that many of us really haven’t applied a gender lens on our corporate giving – it has been a blind spot.’’

Working with a range of not-for-profit organisations and some large corporate foundations, the Champions of Change Coalition and AIIW looked at how organisations address gender equality in their giving strategies; the importance of data to understand the impact and outcome of corporate giving across all programs and the potential for giving processes to be adapted to build an intentional focus on women and girls.

The resource found that gender equality was a strategic priority but not one that was consistently and intentionally supported through corporate giving.

The document states: “[W]e were interested in testing to what extent corporate giving is benefiting women and girls equitably compared to men and boys. The answer surprised us. It was easy to identify the programs that specifically supported women and girls. But when it came to causes like bushfire relief, homelessness, climate change, youth and the arts, many organisations were less sure how the unique needs of women and girls were considered or whether they were equally benefiting from their giving.’’

The resource proposes an alternative that demonstrates the potential of considering women and girls in every social issue and highlights the benefits for gender equality that come from intentional corporate giving with a gender lens.  

Sam Mostyn AO, Chair of Australians Investing in Women, is quoted in the resource, saying: “We need to pull every lever to achieve gender equality. Philanthropic dollars are limited – being more intentional about bringing women and girls into focus brings the greatest opportunity for social change.’’

The framework outlines a staged approach and actions for organisations and not-for-profits to collaborate to ensure corporate giving does become a lever for accelerating gender equality.

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