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'Men network all the time, women do not'

Leading female philanthropist calls for female giving network

Speaking recently at Cass Business School Her Excellency Sheikha Dr Aisha Bint Faleh Al Thani said that a network for women philanthropists would help to make their giving more strategic.

She said: "An obstacle I see for women's philanthropy is networking. Men network all the time; women do not. There is a need for a network organisation for women to guide them to give more strategically.

The real surge in female philanthropy may be yet to come. We need to be building alliances and leveraging financial capital to secure economic security and growth for women and girls."

Her Excellency gave the keynote speech at a seminar hosted at Cass, organised in partnership with the Academy of Philanthropy and the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists. She is a celebrated businesswoman, philanthropist, member of the Qatar Supreme Education Council and director of education charity reach out to Asia. She also completed a PhD in Corporate Governance at Cass in 2011.

Her Excellency said: "Being here at Cass brings back memories of my time as a PhD student. It's a great pleasure to be here among many specialists in philanthropy."

She met with other third sector professionals to discuss the issues faced by women philanthropists working in a male-dominated field. Among them was Cass Professor of Voluntary Sector Management Jenny Harrow.

Professor Harrow asked: "Is it true that women are in a less advantaged position than men, so will 'get' the concept of philanthropy more quickly and with more effect?

"Is it time for women to be upfront in a philanthropy takeover? Should we be singing 'here come the girls'?"

She also spoke about remittance giving among female members of migrant households, citing research by Professor Cathy Pharoah and Tom McKenzie of the Cass Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy.

"Findings show a significant level of sacrifice made by women who remit. Women who send money to relatives overseas are more likely to give to charity despite living on very low incomes."

Dr Jemilah Mahmood gave a presentation on the material impact of aid, drawing on her experiences as a gynecologist and obstetrician practicing in Afghanistan and Syria. She championed cash donations to female beneficiaries, pointing to evidence which shows they spend more wisely.

She also raised the issue of faith inspired giving and encouraged guests to adopt universal causes.
"Being a Muslim female philanthropist does not mean I only give to other Muslims."

Other speakers included:
• Dr Yunus Sola, Director of the Academy of Philanthropy.
• Paul Palmer, Cass Professor of Voluntary Sector Management and Associate Dean for Ethics, Sustainability and Engagement.
• Dr Tariq Cheema, CEO of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropy.

Among the audience were representatives from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth Business School and the Islamic Society of Britain.

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