International Women’s Day: Giving increasing to causes supporting women and girls

March 04, 2021
6 min read

Caroline Dobuzinskis

Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing Content

Giving is increasing to charities diligently categorized as supporting women and girls, on pace with overall giving on the Charitable Impact platform.

Since we launched, over $5 million in donations have gone to this important cause. 

Research from Charitable Impact shows that giving to causes supporting women and girls has increased on pace with giving to other causes. Over the course of the past year, the amount of allocations to this cause increased by 178%. This is almost an exact tie with increases in giving overall on our platform in the past year.

In 2020, giving on Charitable Impact climbed up across most causes. Allocations of less than $1 million went up by 179% from 2019 to 2020—despite the myriad of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

While giving to causes related to women and girls remains a relatively small portion of overall giving on the Charitable Impact platform, it is outpacing outside measures. In total, 7.31% of allocations in 2020 on Charitable Impact went to women’s charities. This is a particularly remarkable number when compared to the 1.6% of overall giving that went to women’s charities in the United States.

“It is heartening to see that so many donors consider causes related to women and girls as important. We hope our platform continues to see growth in this area on pace with overall donor giving. For our part, we can help donors more effectively find charities helping to advance the rights of women and girls and promoting gender equality,” said Lise Owens, Senior Research Strategist at Charitable Impact. 

$5 million to support women and girls

The big and exciting news is, since we started as a way for donors to manage all their giving in one place, donors with Impact Accounts have allocated more than $5 million to charities supporting women and girls. 

This number is an update from more than $1 million reported on International Women’s Day last year, due to improved categorization of causes. In our last study, the number of charities tagged with the topic “women” was 2225, which has now been updated to 3269. 

This 147% increase in charities is likely related to improvements made to our categorization algorithm, rather than an actual increase in the number of women’s charities.

Connecting donors to causes and charities they care about

In the past year, we have been closely looking at how we categorize causes related to women and girls, in order to better connect donors to what they want to give to. Since we made changes to our criteria, charities supporting women and girls now mainly fall under the following categories: Outreach & Welfare (60%), Education & Research (42%), Youth and Children (40%), and Community Development (31%).

This is an update from last year when Religion and Youth were also included as dominant categories (at 14.1% and 11.8% of all charities, respectively). 

Pie chart of distribution of causes

Finding charities that align with your own giving mission

As we adjust and improve categorizations across the platform, donors will more easily be able to give to what they find personally meaningful. By using our search tool, donors can accurately filter charities according to causes. They will be directed towards charities whose missions align with particular and specific topic areas, which are carefully chosen and populated. 

According to our updated criteria, the number of charities affiliated with the cause of women and girls sits at 3.55% of all charities in Canada. As a significant confirmation of accuracy, this number is very comparable to the percentage of U.S. charities supporting women and girls (3.4%, according to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy). 

“We are constantly improving the accuracy of charity categorization to help donors pinpoint the charities that most meet their own giving needs and goals,” said Dr. Ernesto Peña, Director of Research at Charitable Impact. 

Advancing gender equality

Charities working to advance gender equality have national and international mission scopes. It should not be neglected that Canada continues to have gaps in gender equality.

As one example, Canadian women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence. Data based on police reporting found that women represented about 8 in 10 victims of intimate partner violence. Indigenous women are particularly affected by this issue. 

There are other areas where inequality persists, such as in salaries and representation in leadership roles. According to data from Elections Canada, the nation’s 43rd federal general election in October 2019 saw a record number of female candidates. Still, this milestone represents only 35% of total candidates in that election. 

Women currently represent nearly 30% of women in the House of Commons, slightly below the target of 30–35% set by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to ensure a “critical mass”.


The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge, calling on everyone to challenge the status quo and be alert to how they can contribute to change. 

We can all #ChooseToChallenge by speaking out against inequities and stereotypes, by promoting safe and inclusive environments, and by giving to causes that advance girls and women (be it at home, at work, on the sports field, or beyond). 

Advancing equality lifts us all and is a critical step forward, says Sweta Rajan, the founder of Inclusion Advantage Consulting, co-founder of IWS Network, and an Impact Ambassador for a portfolio of charities contributing to the “Fight for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion”.

“This pandemic has highlighted the global nature of challenges confronting humanity,” said Rajan. “Supporting causes related to women and girls helps remove barriers that hold us back from transforming these global challenges into opportunities. We are ready and capable, and we deserve it!”

If you want to make a change, giving that is strategic, targeted, and intentional can help. By giving through Charitable Impact, you can add money to your Impact Account, take the time to discover charities that resonate with you, and give when you feel most inspired to make a difference. Open an Impact Account today.