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The Integral Role of Women in Fighting Corruption

The Integral Role of Women in Fighting Corruption

Corruption is a major problem that affects societies across the world. It undermines democracy, damages the economy, and erodes public trust in institutions. Women face multiple forms of discrimination, including legal, political, economic, and socio-cultural biases, that put them at greater risk of being affected by corruption. However, women have an integral role to play in fighting corruption.

Women have a unique perspective on corruption as a policy brief by a researcher at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) notes that gender inequality is a significant driver of corruption, and empowering women can help prevent and address corruption. Women's participation in decision-making processes, access to justice, and economic opportunities can increase transparency and accountability and reduce opportunities for corruption1. Furthermore, another study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) showed that women in positions of power are less likely to engage in corrupt practices than their male counterparts2. This is because women tend to be more focused on social welfare and are less likely to prioritize personal gain over the common good2.

Women face numerous barriers to their full participation in anti-corruption efforts. A report by the UNODC and WDO highlights several challenges faced by women, including limited access to justice, lack of representation in decision-making, and gender-based violence. Women who speak out against corruption may face retaliation, including threats, intimidation, and violence. Women's lack of economic resources and social status can also make them more vulnerable to corruption and less able to resist or report it 3.

To promote the integral role of women in fighting corruption, policymakers and practitioners must take concrete steps to address gender inequality and empower women. Transparency International recommends that governments prioritize gender and inclusion in anti-corruption strategies and research agendas 4. The Open Government Partnership's Break the Roles campaign aims to promote women's participation in public life and encourage action on gender and inclusion 1. Gender-sensitive compliance programs, as advocated by the Alliance for Integrity, can also contribute to reducing corruption and promoting gender equality 5.

In conclusion, women have an integral role to play in fighting corruption. Women can meaningfully contribute and act as agents of change in the fight against corruption, they have assumed the roles of advocates and leaders within the governments, private sector, civil society organizations, and communities, however, they continue to face significant barriers and obstacles. To achieve real progress in the fight against corruption, it is essential to empower women and promote gender equality. By doing so, we can build a more just and equitable society that is free from corruption.


1. Carranceja, J. C. O. (2021). The Role of Women’s Empowerment in Anti-Corruption. APEC.


2. World Bank. (2021, March 8). Gender and corruption: The time is now.


3. WDO, & UNODC. (2022).


4. Transparency International. (2020, November 5). Recommendations on Women Against Corruption for OGP Action Plans -…. Transparency.Org.


5. Rolshausen, B., & Cordes, A. (2016). Women’s Role in Fighting Corruption (Compliance Bulletin Special Edition 03). Alliance for Intergrity.



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