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Eva Schulze and Sibylle Meyer (2007)

Do Women Set up Different Types of Foundation? A Study on Women in the German Foundations System*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 32, 1-2/2007, p. 205-231, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398

This article is an initial, more comprehensive description of German women setting up foundations. The core aspects of the study are the quantitative ratio between men and women setting up foundations, as well as the gender- specific differences and motives of men and women who set up foundations.

The analysis shows that the German foundation system is still a male-dominated domain, but that women setting up foundations are now also increasingly active with their own foundations. With a share of 30 % of women among respondents who set up foundations, they are less underrepresented than in the business community and among researchers and policy-makers. It is known from the reference material that women more frequently establish foundations for social purposes than men, whilst the latter in turn more frequently than women establish foundations for art and culture, as well as for training and education. It was only possible to confirm these presumptions in the form of tendencies. The desire to specifically promote women is more important for women than for men, but on the whole only plays a subordinate role in the list of reasons even among women setting up foundations. All in all, our analyses show that both women and men pursue similar goals and that their motivations to found foundations differ little. The most important motives for setting up a foundation are the desire to achieve something, to assume responsibility for others and to combat a concrete problem. Our results permit one to reach the conclusion that the influence of gender on the setting up of a foundation and on its activities tends to be slight, and that personality-specific orientations are more significant among the motives for setting up foundations. The fundamental orientations “social commitment” and “self-realisation through work” explain particularly clearly the motives for the establishment of a foundation. Persons with a materialistic and conservative orientation establish foundations if by that commitment to other people their own interests can be asserted at the same time.

Concrete motives for establishing a foundation are largely determined by age. For instance, older people would like to put their affairs in order or have no suitable heirs and consider that their assets will be well cared for in a foundation. By contrast, younger people establish a foundation because of a sudden increase in their wealth.

* Original title: Stiften Frauen anders? Untersuchung zu Frauen im deutschen Stiftungswesen (full text in German only)

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