Seatbelts fit differently on female bodies.  So do space suits.  Seems obvious, right? 

Seatbelts fit differently on female bodies.  So do space suits.  Seems obvious, right? 

Well, it took until 2022 for crash test dummies to be modelled for the average woman’s body.  (Gulp.) 

NASA axed its first all-female spacewalk in 2019 because – wait for it – there were not enough spacesuits on board that appropriately fit women’s bodies.  They rectified that gaffe and set history several months later when Jessica Meir and Christina Koch broke gravity-free ground with their walk. 

Clearly, women have different sets of experiences with many parts of life. And that includes philanthropy. TD recently released their 2023 Women and Philanthropy Report that signaled a changing of the guards for giving in Canada. 

It shows that while women have been involved in charitable giving for years, they’ve sometimes been overlooked to their male counterparts who were seen as top donors or financial decision-makers. 

Today, women are playing key roles driving philanthropic growth, showing new ways for impact through their giving – which is substantial.  Donations made by women in Canada have nearly tripled since 2011. Some key findings from the TD Report on how women philanthropy has a different “fit”: 

1. Trust me to Trust You: Trust is as an especially important factor in Canadian women led philanthropy, influencing how much, and to whom, they decide to give. 

2. Doing Our Homework: The due diligence women undertake can be more extensive.  They want to be fully satisfied with the strength of a charity; and do this by volunteering or establishing relationships with key organizational staff before diving in. 

3. There Where You Need Us: Women are more likely to respond to current events and humanitarian crises. Domestically, this includes issues related to climate change, environmental disasters, housing and food insecurity. 

4. The (Multiple) Bottom Line: Female entrepreneurs have become leaders of businesses that combine commercial success with the opportunity to create a better society. More women are integrating philanthropy into their business strategy than ever before. 

I was in NYC recently at the United Nations HQ with UNICEF Canada women’s giving circle - Women UNlimited – the first of its kind across the entire global UNICEF network. 

These women are at all stages of their lives, careers and philanthropic journeys.  But have come together to invest in a common purpose for the next two years: ensuring that all children – but especially the most vulnerable – have access to quality education. 

It’s a powerhouse of a group.  Leaning into philanthropy in their own unique mould. I loved hearing what brought each of them to UNICEF and how purpose shapes their lives as truly, global citizens. 

Impact comes in all sizes and shapes.  And we need more of it.