Gender relations influence and structure cultures and societies: gender commonly delineates divisions of labour, control over resources and decision-making from the context of domestic life to the top echelons of government. Like poverty and vulnerability, corruption affects men and women differently. However, women are not a homogenous group; due to varying socio-economic and political factors, women are impacted by corruption in diverse ways, therefore, an intersectional approach that acknowledges the differential impact of corruption on women based on aspects of their identity including race, social class, ethnicity, religion and age as well as other forms of identity is important. Corruption and clientelism have also been found to discourage or even prevent women from participating in political processes and public life. These themes and accompanying international good practices have been analysed in UNODC’s publication “The Time is Now – Addressing the gender dimensions of corruption”.
Corruption remains one of the key spoilers to achieving the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. At the General Assembly’s unprecedented special session against corruption, Member States unanimously adopted the political declaration and there by re-committed to fighting corruption in all its forms. In recognising the need to better understand the linkages between gender and corruption, paragraph 69 of the declaration emphasizes that States shall “continue to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, including by mainstreaming it in relevant legislation, policy development, research, projects and programmes, as appropriate and in accordance with the fundamental principles of domestic law.” There is evidence that gender equality and corruption efforts can be mutually reinforcing, reason why UNODC works towards gender mainstreaming its anti-corruption programmes and the delivery of its technical assistance programmes. Gender mainstreaming means finding equitable solutions for all persons in a society, regardless of biological sex and gender identity or social position. The need for more targeted specialized gender sensitive anti-corruption training at all levels has also been identified for the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.