State of Gender-Wise Giving: 2023 Survey Results

Corporate donors know about gender lens investing but many are yet to apply it to their giving programs.

For the first time, Australia’s top 50 corporate and philanthropic donors have revealed whether gender influences their decisions on giving for Australians Investing in Women’s State of Gender-Wise Giving Survey, which found:

  • 100% of corporate and philanthropic donors are now aware of terms such as gender lens and gender-wise giving.
  • A third of corporate organisations apply a gender lens in their community investments but only 1 in 8 can estimate how much funding is directed to women and girls.
  • All corporate and philanthropic respondents were familiar with the concept of gender-wise, gender-balanced or gender-lens investing — a significant increase from the pilot survey in 2022, where 17% of corporate and 2% of philanthropic respondents were not.
  • Only just over a third of corporate respondents had a stated commitment to gender equity when making decisions on community investments or giving programs, even though more than 90% had gender commitments linked to employment and organisational leadership.
  • Barriers to targeted investment included a lack of data and examples, and lack of knowledge and education for corporate organisations, and challenges convincing decision-makers to apply a gender lens.

The annual survey is the only one of its kind tracking gender equity in giving programs, said AIIW CEO, Julie Reilly OAM. It tracks whether gender plays a role in decision making, the attitude of decision makers to applying a gender lens, and barriers to measuring gender balance in giving programs.

The survey included responses from 32% of the top 50 corporate donors and 30% of the top 50 philanthropic donors from the AFR Philanthropy 50 List in Australia.

The overwhelming majority of corporate organisations are committed to gender equity in HR policies and practices, however this is not yet reflected in a wider application of a gender lens in their giving programs and investment in communities,” Ms Reilly said.

“Given every social issue has a gender dimension, giving without a gender lens often unintentionally underserves women and girls. We aim to build this survey over time, so organisations can track their giving each year and the impact it is having moving towards gender equality.

“This year’s survey showed more than a third of philanthropic funding targeted the needs of women and girls — more than double last year’s survey. Philanthropists wanting to have the biggest impact possible can make a difference by ensuring their investments work towards gender equality.

“We know that measuring impact matters, as the latest report in the Gender Equity Insights series from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows. In that report, the top employers that took deliberate, long-term action in their workplaces got results, with the best performing Australian companies recorded a 5.3pp drop in their gender pay gaps in three years.”

Australia’s progress towards gender equity showed some gains in this year’s World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2023 where it was ranked 26th.  However, it still lags behind New Zealand (4th place), the United Kingdom (15th) and South Africa (20th).

Additionally, the Federal Government’s Status of Women Report Card 2023 highlights that the gender pay gap emerges immediately after graduation, where full-time starting salaries average $69,000 for men and $67,000 for women. Compared to the global average (21%), more Australian men (30%) believe that gender inequality doesn’t really exist.

Given the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023 forecasts the expected gender parity is 2154, which is 131 years away, there is still much more work to be done before we reach gender equity, reinforcing the need for awareness and advocacy.

Last year, a report by Deloitte Access Economics developed in partnership with AIIW found that more flexible ideas around gender could lead to an additional $128 billion each year for Australia’s economy and 461,000 additional full-time employees.

This figure made headlines again last week when the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce (WEET) provided the Australian Government with its final report, Women’s Economic Equality: A 10-year plan to unleash the full capacity and contribution of women to the Australian economy.

Alongside government, the corporate and philanthropic community has an important role to play in unlocking Australia’s cultural and economic potential, Ms Reilly said, by driving gender equality and opportunities for women and girls with all available levers, including giving.

“We know that men and women, boys and girls and gender diverse people all benefit when women are given equal opportunities to participate, create, care and lead in our communities and workplaces. Our data shows that when gender is a focus of policies and put into practice, real change is made,” she concluded.

— End of media release —

We would like to thank The Evolved Group for their generous pro-bono support in enabling this ground-breaking research. Thank you also to Social Ventures Australia, and a group of industry experts, including John McLeod and Jarrod Miles who have contributed their expertise and insights throughout the process.

We would also like to thank all survey respondents, especially ANZ who has kindly shared their journey to gender lens giving, measurement and reporting. Read their story

While the results are published only in aggregate, survey respondents will receive an individualised report that allows them to benchmark themselves against their peers.

We look forward to building participation in this important annual survey in the years ahead and supporting private and corporate donors to apply a gender lens to their giving through evidence informed research, education and practical tools and resources. The 2024 survey will open in June. Learn more about the Survey including FAQs. 

For enquiries, please contact Ella Mitchell 0439 876 878

Samples of benchmarking report:

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