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The 2018 Forbes list of billionaires listed an all time female high of 256 women billionaires. Their collective worth totals more than $1 trillion, indicating clear progress in the issue of gender equality. However, with 2,208 entries on the billionaires list, the harsh reality is that most of the wealth is still held by men.

Empirical studies suggest that with the rise of female philanthropists, there will be more money going to deserving causes. With more women than men likely to engage in prosocial behaviour (defined as voluntarily benefiting others), women could change the face of philanthropy Forbes statistics also show that women are more likely to donate a greater percentage of their income; 3.5% compared with 1.8% for their male counterparts.

It is hoped that women will influence philanthropic trends towards creating an ecosystem rather than an ego-system in philanthropy. Management literature suggests that women tend to be more cooperative in the workplace. Giving circles, first created by women for women, promote collaborative giving. More than 10,000 women philanthropists now contribute to the Women’s Collective Giving Network.

Philanthropy which is directed exclusively at girls and women makes up only 5-10% of philanthropic endeavours. However, women in philanthropy have made it an area of intense growth; gender equality is promoted by this growing financial support. Known as social impact investing, backing gender specific causes helps to remove limitations for women.

As Managing Director at investment company Oak Management AS, Joey Horn manages a portfolio of investments. In addition, she has extensive non-profit experience and a keen interest in supporting female-specific charity associations such as cancer charity the Lady Garden Foundation. Horn also lends her support to Williams College as a former trustee and was a co-founder and co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Giving Committee.

Impact investing connects the philanthropist with their causes, enabling them to take an interest in more than just the finance. Real social and environmental change can come when investors are equipped with knowledge and guidance to maximise the impact of their giving. A predicted $400 billion is expected to be given through impact investment in 2020 as more women philanthropists move towards this type of giving.