[Philanthropy Learning Forum] Philanthropy for Women Has Not Reached Its Full Potential
Women are yet to be recognised as donors and supporters of humanity and social programs in Indonesia, even though they have all the potential as donors, volunteers, campaigners, or fundraisers for social and non-profit organizations that men do. Women in philanthropy have the capability to overcome many social problems in Indonesia, especially those issues which concern women themselves.
Hence, Philanthropy Learning Forum 6 focused on Women’s potential in philanthropy with its theme of “Philanthropy for Women Empowerment: Potential, Challenges and Rallying Strategies”. The forum was held in Wisma Indocement, Jakarta by Filantropi Indonesia on the 28th of April, 2016. There were four speakers from various women’s groups: Maria Anik Wusari (Executive Director, Indonesia for Humanity), Ressa Ria Lestari (Co-Founder, Samahita), Indira Abidin (Chief Happiness Officer, PT Fortune Indonesia Tbk, cancer survivor and activist), and Anantya van Bronckhorst (Managing Director, Girls in Tech Indonesia).
Erna Witoelar, Co-Chair of Filantropi Indonesia’s Advisory Board, said that philanthropy in Indonesia has not fully involved women in charity work. This lack of attention to women’s potential in philanthropy is due to assumptions that women don’t possess the wealth or high income that men have. Therefore, women are not seen as prospective donors because they have less to contribute than men. They are also not seen as the decision makers in the family since men are traditionally seen as the head of the family.
Indira Abidin presented
However, Erna is certain that these assumptions are not true. Women in contemporary society have undertaken roles as supporters and donors in many social programs, especially those that are related to women’s issue. They can now give more because they have their own income, thanks to the increased number of women in the workplace, both in the public and private sectors. The amount of donations given by women is now also equal to that given by men. The CAF World Giving Index 2015 report stated that the number of donations by women in cash or in-kind is equivalent with donations made by men. A 2007 survey by the PIRAC (Public Interest Research Advocacy Centre) also identified that women’s rate of giving is very high (99.7%) with an average donation of IDR 287,242 per person/year. That rate is higher than men (99.5%), even though the figure itself is lower than the men’s amount of IDR 360,736 per person/year.
Hamid Abidin, Executive Director of Filantropi Indonesia, continued that the increasing number of women in top positions in companies and government agencies also increased the potential for them to act as potential donors, because of their high influence and income. A study by business consultant Grant Thornton in 2016 showed that the percentage of Indonesian career women who occupy top-level positions in a company is the sixth highest in the world. The study also showed that 36% of manager positions in companies are now held by women. Another study mentioned that women also have the potential to become great volunteers, campaigners, or fundraisers who can raise support and funding in large amount for social organizations.
The data and trends above show that women in philanthropy are thriving, especially in solving problems faced by women themselves. Women need to raise awareness on the problems that they face so they can have preference on which causes they wish to support. Organizations that support women’s empowerment also need to generate creative and innovative ways to communicate their programs. They can do that by utilizing information technology to attract people to support their cause. Because in order for people to donate, they need more than awareness and an understanding of the issue, they also need an invitation to take action, an interest in the program, and trust in the credibility of the solicitor.
Peserta PLF 6