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Issues concerning gender and diversity continue to evolve in the world. This is reflected by the continuing rise in female philanthropists, an area previously dominated almost exclusively by men. At the Forbes Philanthropy Forum in May 2018 there was near parity between male and female participants, indicating a gradual change in the face of wealth.

Although there are still more male than female philanthropists, it seems that investment by women is growing. In an article by The Economist it was reported that between 2010 and 2015, there was significant growth in private wealth held by women, rising from $34trn to $51trn. This increase of over 50% in five years indicates that private wealth changing hands in the future is likely to go to women.

The Forbes 2018 list of billionaires saw an all time high in the number of female billionaires, numbering 256 out of 2208 entries. With a collective worth of $1trn, the face of philanthropy is changing as women control more wealth. Empirical studies indicate that women are more likely to demonstrate pro-social behaviour; actions designed to benefit others for no personal gain. Indeed, statistics show that women give away 3.5% of their wealth compared to me, who only give away 1.8%.

There is evidence to suggest that female-headed households are not only more likely to give to philanthropic causes, they typically give twice as much. The due diligence of women philanthropists is felt further in their careful decision-making concerning their investments. They also seem to value better communication with the organisations they support and establish a deeper understanding of the impact of their gift.

The philanthropic influence of women is increased by their facilitation of education and their key role in involving family members in philanthropy. Managing Director of Oak Management AS Joey Horn manages a family portfolio of investments and actively engages in charitable giving.

Research shows that women have the means, the power and the motivation to change philanthropy. In the last 20 years, women-focussed foundations have exploded, with the Women’s Funding Network reporting that there are now 160 women’s funds around the world. This new wave of female philanthropists addresses inequality and strives for more balance in a vital sector of society.