Seniors and Volunteering: An Italian study into gender differences

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Various studies on active ageing have focused on social participation as an element in the promotion of related policies. Literature on the subject reveals that the participation in voluntary activities is a factor which contributes positively to the process of active ageing. However, several studies demonstrate that gender is an important and influential factor in the social participation of the individual. This article explores gender disparities related to active volunteerism among seniors. It uses data collected during a study conducted in Italy in 2014. Of the 900 active subjects aged between 65 and 74 who participated, 146 were engaged in voluntary activities. Constrained cluster analysis techniques based on a series of variables including age, income type, relationship networks, value attributions, and sector of volunteering association were applied to identify the statistical differences between elderly male and female volunteers. The results show a difference in volunteer profile between the genders. Male volunteers are younger, often married and more active, while women are older, often widows and possessing a strong religious vocation. Furthermore, while men are more likely to be involved in activities related to sports, women tend to donate time to solidarity and educational initiatives aimed at individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Active ageing
  • Gender differences
  • Volunteerism


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