Your No Counts

Scenario 5: Gender and Corruption

Corruption disproportionately affects women, and the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbates this by limiting their access to essential services such as healthcare. The traditional, cultural and social norms that promote women as the main caregiver, and which all too frequently place women at a disadvantage in the workforce, have resurged with a whiplash effect on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Decisions about the spending of large-scale emergency economic response packages are often made in haste and leaving aside any gender considerations. Meanwhile, by limiting the scope of beneficiaries, corruption deepens gender disparities. Moreover, while women represent almost 70% of the healthcare workforce, they are also largely absent from the leadership managing the pandemic, and are under-represented in national parliaments and local governments.

To guarantee that public spending is effective, efficient and reaches those who need it most, governments must ensure that these funds are distributed equally, with a special focus on diversity, gender-inclusion and transparency.

Involving women in the decision-making process on the allocation and disbursement of emergency funding leads to a more inclusive recovery, allowing the world to RECOVER with INTEGRITY. Giving women a seat at the table ensures more diversity in decision-making – and diversity breaks up corrupt networks, increases accountability and prevents corruption.

Precious resources lost to corruption prevent those who need it most from receiving lifesaving health services. Corruption also contributes to women’s unequal access to health care, and with frequently less socio-economic power, women are less likely to be able to pay any bribes required to access health care, education and other public services, particularly during the pandemic.

COVID-19 also hinders women and girls from accessing education, which can have long term consequences and can lead to them falling further behind. Knowledge is key and plays a critical part in women being able to join the fight against corruption. Education enables women to participate in political decision-making and to gain access to leading positions, levelling the playing field and advancing gender equality.

States need to consult and include women in decision-making processes concerning humanitarian efforts and economic recovery planning 1 - allowing the world to RECOVER with INTEGRITY.

1 Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women, United Nations, April 2020.

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