Seeing Beyond the State: Grassroots Women’s Perspectives on Corruption and Anti-Corruption

Report / White Paper

November 28, 2012

Seeing Beyond the State: Grassroots Women’s Perspectives on Corruption and Anti-Corruption

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – in partnership with the Huairou Commission (HC) - launched a new gender-themed publication at the 15th biennial International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), a global forum organized by Transparency International (TI) together with partners, including UNDP, which is being held this week in Brasilia, Brazil from November 7th to 10th.

The innovative report, entitled “Seeing Beyond the State: Grassroots Women’s Perspectives on Corruption and Anti-Corruption” delineates the view of corruption from the perspective of grassroots women while raising the visibility of their local strategies to address the misuse of power in order to prevent and reduce corruption.

The publication was unveiled at a UNDP side event called Mainstreaming Gender and Incorporating Grassroots Women’s Perspectives in Global Anti-Corruption Initiatives and Agenda.

“Putting people at the centre of human development requires analyzing what impact corruption has on their daily lives. The anti-corruption movement should pay serious attention to gender inequalities in analyzing and designing strategies to address corruption risks,” said Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP’s Deputy Assistant Administrator & Deputy Director at the opening session of IACC, which set the stage for detailed discussions on gender and corruption

Recognizing the lack of information related to corruption and women, and acknowledging the importance of a bottom-up approach to explore this phenomenon, the Huairou Commission has partnered with UNDP’s Global Thematic Programme on Anti-Corruption for Development Effectiveness (PACDE) to facilitate anti-corruption research. The two entities teamed up to undertake a study in 11 communities across eight countries spanning three continents. The study illuminates grassroots women’s perceptions and experiences of corruption in developing countries particularly in the communities where they live and work.

“Standard definitions of corruption need to incorporate the range of experiences that grassroots women face, such as physical abuse, sexual favours, and giving and taking of bribes when accessing basic services,” said Priya Pillai, Strategic Planner at the Best Practices Foundation, a partner of the Huairou Commission.

“Organized women are more likely to act against corruption; therefore, more efforts are needed to invest in ongoing community organizing, empowerment and the leadership development processes of grassroots women,” added Pillai.

Addressing the gendered nature of corruption is not easy, yet the new study - which is based on evidence from Cameroon, Uganda, Brazil and Nicaragua, among other countries - reveals that women experience corruption in even the most basic services, such as health and education, and when applying for public documentation or when dealing with law enforcement agencies.

With more than 1,500 participants this year, the IACC brings together heads of state, civil society, multilateral organizations, donors’ community and academia to share ideas and solutions on how to effectively tackle corruption. With the theme “Mobilising people: Connecting agents of change”, this year’s IACC will address innovative solutions in over 50 workshop and plenary sessions of how to take the fight against corruption forward in five key areas: ending impunity, clean climate governance, preventing illicit financial flows, political transitions leading to stable and transparent governments and clean sports.

Throughout the four-day global conference, UNDP - in partnership with various partners such as UNECA, the Huairou Commission, UN REDD, the US State Department and the World Bank, among others - is co-organizing ten workshops on a range of anti-corruption issues, including: illicit financial flows, natural resources, corruption impact on women, anti-corruption in the post 2015 agenda, anti-corruption and human rights and, corruption prevention through sectorial approach, among others.

UNDP is on the advisory Committee of the IACC and plays a key role in the development of its global platform.

For more information: Please visit UNDP website.

Resource type: 
Huairou Commission
Phil Matsheza, Anga R Timilsina and Aida Arutyunova
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