Leading philanthropists Sara Davenport, Claire MacKintosh, Ann Gloag and Debbie Fox reflect on women and giving
Davenport founded Breast Cancer Haven in 1997 with the proceeds from the sale of her London art gallery after her children's nanny contracted breast cancer. The charity now has three centres, offers support to 6,000 women and plans to expand nationwide in the next decade.
Davenport admits that she would not have acted without a personal connection to the cause.
"It was an emotional reaction to set up the charity, because logically it was not sensible for an art dealer to take on such a role," she says.
Davenport suggests that women can be put off by the 'philanthropist' label: "It almost sounds Victorian, or Dickensian," she says. "The last thing I want to do is stand up and say I'm a philanthropist."
She also says the barriers to inspiring the next generation include a British reluctance to celebrate wealth and a cultural discomfort with successful women.
Mackintosh - Viscountess Mackintosh of Halifax after her marriage to a hereditary peer - is a major donor of time and expertise. She and Matthew Orr won the Beacon Special Prize for Philanthropy in 2005/06 for co-founding donation charity ShareGift.
Mackintosh established the charity after a 16-year career in the City, where she specialised in UK equities as an investment manager of pension funds before setting up a private equity fund in the 90s and working in Korea. She set up ShareGift in 1996, taking the role of chief executive. It has since raised £12m for nearly 1,500 charities.
The charity encourages shareholders to donate unwanted shares that would cost more to sell than they are worth, then sells them for the best price. The money is distributed to charities such as the Eating Disorders Association, the National Meningitis Trust and Action on Addiction. Donors are invited to add their suggestions to the charity list.
Gloag is the founder and a non-executive director of £1.5bn transport company the Stagecoach Group.
She made her fortune during the 80s and 90s. She founded small bus company Gloagtrotter with family members in 1980, using cash from her father's severance pay to buy buses. Later she offered cut-price trips between Dundee and London. The company profited from legislation deregulating the bus industry, and her personal wealth is estimated at more than £200m.
She now supports several charities, most notably international medical organisation Mercy Ships. A former nurse, she has also worked for the charity as a volunteer in west Africa.
Gloag is an advocate of donating time and expertise. "I find the only way to really assess value for money is to be very hands-on," she told New Philanthropy Capital last year.
Fox is both a major donor to and a trustee of health and social care charity Jewish Care. She is adamant that women make thoughtful and engaged donors.
"Women are less persuaded by the person doing the asking than they are by the cause," she says. "They think more carefully than men about what the cause is and how relevant it is to them. They look behind the ask.
"By virtue of our nature, we are giving, compassionate, understanding and emotional - all of which feeds into the definition of philanthropy,"
Fox became interested in Jewish Care after volunteering at a day centre. She believes the next generation of female philanthropists needs encouragement, and that networking, by trustees in particular, might hold the key.
"There is huge untapped potential to encourage the next generation of women philanthropists," she says.