“As there is a gender differentiation in the negative impact of corruption, it is essential to always include a gender perspective in business integrity efforts. There is no need to be an expert, a good way to start is recognising it." - Marco Perez, Gender Coordinator of the Alliance for Integrity
On this topic page we provide relevant publications, activities, best practice examples and statements of our partners and supporters on the connection between gender and corruption.
The topic page will be continuously updated with new content and material. We invite you to join our efforts and to actively contribute to a level playing field with equal opportunities for all.
The links between gender and corruption are increasingly highlighted by both academia and the international community. For instance, they are part of the G20 commitments set out in 2018. However, not everyone is aware of the connection between the two concepts. The reason is often a lack of understanding. Thus, the first step in tackling the issue is to analyse and understand it more thoroughly.
Even considered individually, both concepts are very complex. Depending on the context, cultural background, legal framework and ideologies, the terms are defined differently. We therefore need to respond to the problem with a holistic and aligned approach. It is crucial to not only address the problem by considering technicalities and etymological aspects, but above all the main factor in this nexus: the underlying power relations.
Together with our partners and supporters we have elaborated concrete strategies to combine gender-specific measures with anti-corruption efforts. This includes, amongst others, adapting instruments used in both areas, (e.g. complaint systems) and ensuring that the gender perspective is taken into account throughout the entire compliance programme (e.g. establishing a code of ethics with a gender perspective).
In other words, we have grounded both concepts in practical situations to mitigate their abstract character. In our opinion it is essential to not only talk about “gender and business” or “gender and corruption”, but “gender and business integrity” and consequently about the benefits of implementing internal strategies that make companies more efficient and inclusive.
Therefore, we as initiative “walk the talk”. The Alliance for Integrity promotes a gender perspective in all its activities to ensure that all voices, female and male, are heard equally. We invite you to join in our mission of creating a business environment based on integrity that allows an equal, inclusive and fair playground for all actors in the economic system, especially for the more vulnerable.
Find statements of our partners and supporters that point out why it is crucial to include a gender perspective in anti-corruption and compliance efforts.
“Empowering women-led SMEs is at the heart of sustainable economic development. An empowered women business leader illuminates her society.”
"Adding a gender perspective can significantly improve our understanding of the dynamics of behaviour that drive corruption and anti-corruption; thus, giving the current approach a much needed dimension and effectiveness.”
“As a responsible company, a commitment to integrity and the implementation of human rights are even more important in this pandemic situation. At the same time, gender equality plays an important role in ensuring sustainability.”
“As female business owners, we have to be assertive, show confidence and say no to any unofficial request.”
“One of the most common and silent forms of corruption emerging across the globe is sextortion, where sex is the currency of bribe. To acknowledge and work against it, is the need of the hour.”
“Supporting each other among women is necessary to survive in the competitive and demanding business world, especially when it comes to corruption.”
“Even though corruption affects everyone, it affects people in vulnerable situations more (indigenous people, migrants, etc.). Historically we have witnessed the multiple forms of violence women are targeted and the inequality it generates. Is there any doubt we have to tackle both problems?”
“Corruption is the root cause of different forms of discrimination, injustice, inequity and poverty. A gender perspective makes it easier to identify the most vulnerable populations while making efforts in the fight against this scourge more efficient.”
“Inclusion is no longer just a moral obligation; it is a commercial and financial strategy to improve the profitability of businesses.”
"Women in social, political or cultural contexts where they exert less power than men, may face more corruption experiences and their response array to these experiences may be much more limited. Promoting women's participation and empowerment is critical to reduce their vulnerability to corruption."
"Corruption has an unequal impact on women, affecting especially the weakest.”
“Business integrity is the imminent result of the integrity of all human beings that make it up, men and women.”
"Corruption affects women disproportionately. Accepting this reality and assuming it when proposing solutions is urgent. Without a gender perspective, any anti-corruption effort will be limited in scope and ineffective.”
"Although the destructive effects of corruption affect us all in some way, making visible the sharpness with which it strikes more vulnerable groups such as women and girls contributes to seeking for effective solutions."
"Various investigations in the world have shown the correlation between the ethical behaviour and the gender of a person inserted in a certain culture. Empirical evidence demonstrates more upright behaviour in women when it comes to corruption issues. I consider that they are concepts that must be studied together and in depth to understand the objective reasons and to be able to design effective intervention strategies, building a better society."
"We must continue to encourage gender equality spaces that allow us to better articulate the fight against corruption as a result of an effort by men and women."
"If our purpose is to build an egalitarian society, it is important that women have the resources and support and that others give us a voice to say no to corruption."
“It is very important to understand why diversity adds value, what the risks of unconscious biases are and how we can incorporate a gender perspective to strengthen integrity programmes of companies.”
"The gender perspective must be included because in investigations, interviews and stories told by women, it has been shown that corruption impacts them differently and from there we must address it."
"The integration of a gender perspective in anti-corruption efforts is not only necessary, but essential and inevitable in order to fight corruption effectively. We are convinced that trying to fight corruption without considering the gender perspective will exacerbate existing inequalities, widen the gender gap, reduce equal opportunities and violate rights. Furthermore, the lack of a gender perspective, due to its impact on organisational and social culture, limits the opportunities for access to management positions and decision-making processes. This is a key element as part of the diversity and inclusion policy necessary to ensure integrity, ethics and compliance.”
“The private sector plays a crucial role in fighting and preventing corruption. Corruption often affects differently – if not disproportionately – women and minorities. Including a diversity and gender perspective in business anti-corruption policies will help finding more innovative and effective solutions.”
“Corruption violates human rights and contributes to human rights violations. Corruption disproportionately hurts the most vulnerable and marginalised sectors of the population, who are mostly women and girls. Women’s and girls’ lack of access to basic economic and social rights, such as the rights to health, education and adequate standards of living, as well as inequalities in many areas of social life result in women being more vulnerable to corruption and its impact than men. There is therefore a clear implication of gender on corruption. In order to be successful, anti-corruption policies, programmes, standards and laws need to recognise the gendered impacts of corruption and address the forms of corruption which affect women disproportionately and undermine their rights to human rights, including equality and non-discrimination and participation.Similarly, policies, initiatives, laws and other concrete actions to be taken to stem the tide against corruption must consider the role that women and girls should play and by doing so, be able to formulate policies that will lead to concrete results and impact. It is therefore important to mainstream gender issues in all areas of anti-corruption policies, programmes and decisions and international trading systems.”
“Gender affects almost every facet of our lives and even corruption does not escape its grasp. Clientelism and single-gendered networks effectively serve to exclude or limit access and thereby have disastrous and disproportionate effects on vulnerable groups and women. We cannot leave out a vital piece of the corruption puzzle and thus our anti-corruption efforts must strive to be gender responsive. This is why we at UNODC are increasingly prioritising work towards exploring the gender dimensions of corruption and are determined to harness the gender element by fostering and envisioning a more inclusive fight against corruption.”
"Corruption disproportionally affects women. Sextortion – when sex is the currency of the bribe – is one of the most silent forms of corruption and demands urgent gender-sensitive legislation, enforcement and reporting mechanisms."
Discover interesting publications of our partners addressing the relation between gender and corruption.
In the past months, the Alliance for Integrity has carried out various online seminars and web formats that address relevant issues focusing on gender and corruption. Summaries of the most important takeaways can be downloaded as PDF files.
The Alliance for Integrity walks the talk. Find here our gender-specific activities that promote female entrepreneurship and support businesswomen around the world in improving their compliance measures.