Women not only give more than men, they feel happier about doing so.

There hasn't been much in the media this year to make women feel good about their lot.

We've heard about the gender pay gap, where women earn less than similarly qualified men. We know few women hold senior roles or board positions in our largest companies. And we've learned of sexual harassment charges where women have been taken advantage of by male colleagues.

While it's good that these issues are brought to our attention, I reckon women are overdue some celebration rather than sympathy.

A recent article on the future of philanthropy provides just the tonic. It reports women of all ages and stages of life are more generous than their male counterparts. At nearly every income level, women donate almost twice as much as men.


So there you go…we may not have everything sorted, but golly we're a generous bunch!

In a study at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy, women were found to be more likely to give, and to give more, than men in similar situations.

Baby boomer and older women gave 89 per cent more to charity than men their age and women in the top 25 per cent income category gave 150 per cent more than men in the same category.

Women have also taken the lead in newly popular charitable organisations known as 'giving circles', where many people pool small amounts of money to make a larger impact.

The amount of money in giving circles has tripled over the last decade, with an estimated $US1.29 billion being granted overall.

According to data from the Collective Giving Research Group, 70 per cent of these groups have a majority of female members and nearly 50 per cent were women only.

In explaining the findings, the researchers said: "Women tend to be more altruistic and empathetic than men, partly because of the way men and women are socialised regarding caring, self-sacrifice and the wellbeing of others."

Women also tend to define success by generosity and the quality of relationships, while men measure their success by reference to wealth, income and professional achievements.

Women have a great role model in Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation with a $US40 billion endowment. Last year President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest civilian award in the US - in recognition of her philanthropic efforts.

The trend towards feminine generosity is all the more notable, given women tend to earn less and have less money in retirement than men, yet they are giving larger portions of their wealth away to help others.

Perhaps women have realised what has recently been confirmed in a study from the University of Zurich. The study is the first to deduce a scientific correlation between generosity and happiness. Regardless of the amount, those who spent money on others reported feeling happier.

Further, the brains of men and women process generosity differently at the pharmacological level. The Zurich study concludes "When a woman exhibits some form of kindness, it triggers a greater reward signal than it does in men, whose reward system is stimulated more by selfish behavior."

To be fair, not all men are selfish and at least in some instances, men will have played a role in the generous giving. For example, Melinda wouldn't be able to be so generous were it not for Bill Gates' achievements in building the Microsoft empire.

Still, women's voices are ringing clear in the world of philanthropy, and I say Go Girls!