I’m just going to say from the outset that what I’m about to do will be frustrating but I’m going to persevere regardless.
Earlier today a reader alerted Women’s Agenda to a rather perplexing post she saw on Linked In. I took a look and was as perplexed as the reader.
I want to write about it but I am not going to share the post or the name of its creator. As tempting as it is, public shaming online is problematic and personally I’m not convinced it’s warranted or helpful in this instance.
This is not the CEO of a publicly listed company making wildly offensive assertions nor a politician. It’s a private citizen using his own social media to pose a question and while his query is absolutely worth interrogating I don’t think his privacy needs to be betrayed in the process.
The question the author asked his followers is why more male business leaders say yes to a charity meeting than female business leaders.
It isn’t clear how many leaders were approached but he said an equal number of men and women were invited, but only 20% of those leaders who agreed to pledge their time to support the charity are women.
“Come on girls! What’s going on?” were the words he actually used in a short video he posted.
In the post he specifically tagged and asked a number of women in his network to comment on what is getting in the way of women supporting charities.
Their responses were, unsurprisingly, frank. Many made the point that there are far more male business leaders than female leaders but given he said he had invited an equal number of both men and women this obviously isn’t the whole picture here.
A few things are worth noting. Globally and here in Australia it’s well established that women give more of their money and their time to charities than men do.
The fact his sample doesn’t reflect this doesn’t change that. (Though if enough women are declining his request to totally buck an established trend it certainly does raise the possibility that something in his invitation is potentially askew.)
But, even if that weren’t the case, and men were giving more time and money to charity, it’s hardly proof that women are selfish, ungenerous monsters.
Frankly it would be a correction of sorts I’d be comfortable with given men both earn more money and have fewer unpaid demands on their time than women do.
That famous graph in this year’s Australian Institute of Family Studies study that illustrates that men’s lives still don’t change when a baby comes along is, as ever, enlightening. The demands on women’s time are different than the demands on men’s time.
Aside from earning less than men for the paid work they undertake, women are undertaking significantly more of the unpaid care work than men.
The saying goes that charity starts at home and in the overwhelming majority of households in Australia women are doing substantially more of the daily charity than men are.
Given women are physically, logistically and mentally overwhelmed, frankly it’s quite astonishing that a single woman found the time to accept his request in the first place. I suspect, after his most recent post, he might find even securing 20% female participants a stretch. Just a hunch.