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The Altruism Gender Gap in America


Stashed in: Altruism, Women, Compassion, #kindness, Freakonomics, America!, Awesome, Altruism

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Why is there an altruism gender gap? Unclear. 

25.3% of Americans choose to volunteer at least once a year, and nearly half of the individuals that volunteer do so an average of more than one hour per week. These numbers come from a September 2014 survey of Americans ages 15 and older conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Volunteering is defined as any unpaid work performed for an organization. It can include anything tutoring English at the local library, coaching your child’s basketball team, or helping your church with a fundraiser.

Not all Americans are equally likely to volunteer. The probability that a given person will volunteer is impacted by their age, income, education level and, not least of all, by genderIn 201428.4% of women volunteered at least once, while only 22.2% of men did so. 

Economic status is a key determinant of how likely a person is to volunteer.

The sociologist and volunteerism researcher Hiromi Taniguchi writes that volunteering is “a privilege as well as a responsibility.” People who find themselves in poverty or struggling to find a job are unlikely to feel that they can spend time and effort volunteering. People from a family with incomes of over $150,000 are more than twice as likely to volunteer than those from families with less than $50,000, and those who work full-time are nearly 20% more likely to volunteer than those who are unemployed.

Yet even when we only compare men and women who work full-time, we still find a large gender gap in terms of who volunteers. 30.1% of women who work full-time also find the time to volunteer in comparison to just 23.8% of men.

I personally experienced this in my non profit art space. I wonder why this is? Maybe women are more conditioned to feel guilty about taking leisure time?

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