The Pentera Blog

Millennial Women Predicted to Lead Next Great Philanthropic Movement

"We are on the verge of another great movement by women"—including an expansion of their philanthropy—and it will be led by the Millennial Generation, says a Duke University professor and researcher who presented at the women in philanthropy conference in Chicago earlier this spring.

Kristin Anne Goss is an associate professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and her students recently helped conduct in-depth interviews with Millennial women aged 21-32. Goss presented preliminary findings at the "Dream. Dare. Do." Conference March 14-15 sponsored by the Women's Philanthropy Institute of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Goss says that Millennial women are helping to redefine and expand the women's movement—with far-reaching implications for charities as women invest their time and treasure in more diverse issues.

"They think beyond feminism: They redefine the women's movement as things women care about—and that is more than women's issues," she said. "Many young women view this as a way of bridging—of bringing a woman's perspective to other movements."

The study also revealed that Millennial women think differently about men than did the preceding generations that launched and led the women's movement.

"Younger women do not see men as an oppressor group but as being in the movement helping to change structures," Goss said, adding that young women leaders of today "do not operate as they did in the '60s."

She said that women's philanthropy grew in the '80s and '90s and is now on the cusp of exciting new growth—though she added that more women need to run for public office in order to have the power to enact change.

"It often falls to women to fix stuff, and there's a lot that needs to be fixed," Goss said. "In virtually every major social reform movement, women's organizations have been at the forefront. We are on the verge of another great movement by women. It feels like an exciting moment, with huge energy and huge promise."