Corruption and gender inequality are in many ways strongly connected. Men and women are affected by corruption in different ways and are objects of different corrupt practices and behaviours. The Alliance for Integrity has therefore developed a new format called “Integri-TEA” that specifically aims at female entrepreneurs and businesswomen from India. The event provides an informal and protected setting to openly discuss corruption-related challenges and possible solutions. Over a cup of tea, participants share experiences, learn from each other and develop a deep understanding of tools and good practices available to prevent corruption within their businesses. The format is based on the “Integrity Coffee” in Mexico, which was successfully launched in October 2019.
The Integri-Tea will be initially rolled-out in the regions of Rajasthan, Telangana and Assam as our implementation partner Her&Now is already intensively involved there. With the support of Start-up Oasis the introductory event took place on Wednesday, 08 April 2020. Due to the ongoing outbreak of Covid-19 the session had to be adapted to the new situation and was organised as virtual meeting with female entrepreneurs from Rajasthan.
The first Integri-TEA started exploring the challenges women face in the fight against corruption and the measures that their own companies have taken so far. Most of the participants stated that in terms of compliance they do not feel disadvantaged because of their gender.
However, this changes considerably when it comes to stereotypes and biases prevalent in the different sectors. While sharing their journey as female entrepreneurs, many of the women highlighted that their businesses are built on trust but due to their small size just few of them already implemented internal compliance management systems.
Subsequently, the businesswomen shared further challenges that they face in their daily work. As example they mentioned that since there are no legal contracts signed between the suppliers and the companies, the female entrepreneurs are not able to claim late payments. Especially in times of crisis, this business behaviour that is solely based on trust, can become a huge problem. During the discussion some participants declared that they do not know how to react confidently to any demands of corruption. Thus, they expressed the wish to get further trainings on this issue and to learn more about contracts, their drafting and interpretation. Besides especially those businesswomen, whose main business is the design of fashion, sought to better understand their intellectual property rights.
Due to the global pandemic the Alliance for Integrity had to postpone the Vyapaar se Vyapaar ko business integrity training that aimed to answer all these outstanding questions. As compensation there will be interactive expert sessions that specifically focus on the beforementioned issues. In addition, the Alliance for Integrity will organise online exchanges with businesswomen from India and other countries where the initiative is active.
Author: Seema Choudhary