GENDER AND CORRUPTION: Are Women Less Corrupt?

GENDER AND CORRUPTION: Are Women Less Corrupt?

Higher levels of women`s participation in public life are associated with lower levels of corruption.

Corruption is less severe where women comprise a larger share of parliamentary seats, a study by the IRIS Centre, University of Maryland reveals. This statement has also been underlined by a World Bank study on “Corruption and women in government”. The study concludes that higher rates of female participation in government are associated with lower levels of corruption. It is suggested that women may have higher standards of ethical behaviour and appear to be more concerned with the common good.

Women are less corrupt than men. The most common explanations for this difference include: women are less selfish; are more charitable and altruistic; or, being mothers, have stronger values. These explanations seem no stronger than simply saying that women are less prone to corruption. However, the idea that women are less corrupt than men is probably not without grounds.Gender inequality and corruption Beyond anecdotal evidence, is there a systematic relationship between gender inequality and corruption? A first step to answer this question consists in simply comparing country data on corruption with data on gender inequality. There are different measures available for both variables.

“This research underscores the importance of women empowerment, their presence in leadership roles and their representation in government, said Sarangi, an economics professor and department head at Virginia Tech. “This is especially important in light of the fact that women remain underrepresented in politics in most countries including the United States.”

Women in business seem less likely to pay bribes.

A survey of enterprise owners and managers in the Republic of Georgia indicates that firms owned or managed by women pay bribes on approximately 5 % of occasions when coming into contact with a government agency. The percentage is twice as high for firms with a male owner or manager (11%).

While women are less involved in corruption themselves, they are even more disadvantaged from the consequences of a corrupt system.

Gender-Sensitive Budget Analysis proves that men profit much more from public expenditures than women. In many countries, the allocation for programmes focusing on women is only a fraction of the total national budget. In Argentina and in the Dominican Republic, the grant for women`s programmes budget amounts to 0.0046% and 0.002% of the total national budget, respectively.

Corruption decreases national budget resources. It also reduces, for example, the amount of public spending on health and social security, which affects women disproportionately. If there is a cut in public spending, maternal and child health services are more likely to be the worst-hit victims. One survey carried out by the TI chapter of Bangladesh shows that it is harder for female headed households to get their children into school or to get themselves hospital care.

“A corrupt legal system reinforces existing gender discrimination in many countries. Women`s civil rights are grossly unfair with regard to marriage/divorce, family law, child custody, financial independence and inheritance and property rights. Often they have no ability to make decisions without the consent of a male relative”, stresses Roslyn Hees, Senior Advisor with Transparency International. In many countries, those who win cases tend to be involved with corrupt prosecutors and judges. Women simply do not have the means to compete in this way. Corrupt judicial procedures and the prevalence of “old boys networks” makes it in many cases impossible for women to win legal battles in a transparent and open way.

The policy implications of the study point towards the need for promoting gender equality in general and promoting the presence of women in politics in particular. Previous research has established that a greater presence of women in government is associated with better education and health outcomes.

 

By, Jeff Lovitt  And Agency Report