What is the relationship between gender and corruption? Are there gender-specific forms of corruption? Can female empowerment be a powerful instrument in the larger fight against corruption?  

There has been a considerable amount of research on this topic, generating a number of insights. Research has confirmed, for example, that women and men are affected differently by corruption. There is a broad consensus that corruption hits the poor and vulnerable groups the hardest, especially women, who represent a higher share of the world’s poor.  

Corruption also hinders progress towards gender equality and presents a barrier for women to gain full access to their civic, social and economic rights. Understanding the complex relationship between gender and corruption is therefore an essential step towards furthering women’s rights and eventually levelling the playing field between women and men. But women are not only victims of corruption; they are also part of the solution.  

While evidence is inconclusive on whether women are less corrupt than men, greater women’s rights and participation in public life are associated with better governance and lower levels of corruption in many countries of the world. Empowering women and promoting their participation in public life is essential to address the gendered impact of corruption and level gender power imbalances and inequalities.  

For further information, see our Topic Guide on Corruption and Gender

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