The Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) annual survey reliably and repeatedly informs us that across the UK more women than men are engaging in charitable activities. This made our survey results all the more staggering, suggesting that women in our community tend to give to fewer charities than men and also tend to give less.
I’m absolutely convinced that there is no gender-based generosity gap within UK Jewry. From both my personal experience and from World Jewish Relief’s, women are just as generous as men both in terms of time and donations. Our database shows that women are making up an increasing percentage of donations, to the point where the two genders give in almost equal numbers.
So how has this survey of the Jewish community created such a surprising outcome?
Could the skew simply be the result of stereotypically male braggadocio when faced with a survey on charitable giving; “oh yes, of course I give to tens of charities and of course the amount must total in the £1000s”.
Could it be within the male psyche to over-inflate one’s giving habits? Quite possibly.
Or are Jewish households more traditional than the rest of the UK? Across the country, men have habitually run household finances and therefore held the cheque books. I wonder whether our community is just catching up now in terms of a greater equality as to who nominates the charity to give to and concurrently who writes the cheques. Additionally, a more prosaic factor is that within many Jewish households, men are more likely to be higher rate taxpayers and can therefore gain the associated tax efficiencies of charitable giving.
Despite the aforementioned results, the survey found that one area of Jewish giving where women gave significantly more than men was towards supporting vulnerable women. Unsurprising perhaps, but a reminder that personal affinity and connection with the cause are key drivers of all charitable giving. As such, I’d love even more women to support World Jewish Relief’s renewed focus on supporting the world’s most vulnerable women.