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News & Press: WIPP Leadership Columns

Women Entrepreneurs and Social Responsibility by Kristie Arslan

Tuesday, April 07, 2015  
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ENews – April 2015

Women Entrepreneurs and Social Responsibility

By Kristie Arslan, WIPP Executive Director


Last month I had the opportunity to attend the 13th Annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards Celebration & Conference, an amazing event hosted by the premier magazine for women business owners to pay tribute to the world’s top women entrepreneurs.  As I listened to these women share their stories of starting and growing their businesses, what was so impressive is that I noted that almost all of them had made giving back a part of their business and personal mission. 

With women being more inclined to charitable giving, it is not surprising to find that businesses owned by women would also have a component with a philanthropic focus.  However, I wondered if entrepreneurs have been looked at through the gender lens to determine if women entrepreneurs incorporate a social responsibility component more than, less than or equal to their male counterparts.  Unfortunately there is not a substantial amount of data out there on this topic. 

A recent report by Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund and Ernst & Young found that entrepreneurs are highly likely to give to charity--regardless of their income level and that companies led by entrepreneurs allocate more than twice the percentage of profits to charity than many of America’s largest companies. Though a majority of the survey pool for this report were male entrepreneurs (90%). 

When turning our focus to the corporate sector, there is a lot more data on how women in leadership roles can impact corporate social responsibility.  Data from Catalyst and researchers from Harvard Business School find that gender-inclusive leadership and corporate social responsibility are linked. In their Gender and Corporate Social Responsibility: It’s a Matter of Sustainability report they found that compared to companies without women executive leaders, companies with gender-inclusive leadership teams contributed, on average, more charitable funds.  Furthermore, even after controlling for key factors that might influence total donations, the presence of women leaders in Fortune 500 companies still has a significant, positive effect: more women leaders is correlated with higher levels of philanthropy.

While we may not have as much concrete data on the contributions of women entrepreneurs to charitable giving, at WIPP we know that women business owners are changing the landscape at home and abroad through their philanthropic efforts.  We have the opportunity to learn how they take the opportunities they have received through their business and transform them into an opportunity to impact positive change through charitable endeavors.

If you are interested in developing a giving program for your business and encouraging your employees to give back to the community, here are some helpful resources:

·       10 Ways to Give Back to Your Community

·       Developing a Giving Program for Your Business



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