Gender and corruption - Solomon Star News

Gender and corruption

29 May 2013

Are women less corrupt than men is a question a lot of people are asking today in many communities through- out this country.  

Many are also saying that it good to give women the chance to be elected into Parliament so as to prove themselves to the people of this country whether they are different from the male dominated leadership that is often associated to corrupt activities.

Women’s leadership is also encouraged as a way to prove the competency women have to lead and to serve the people of Solomon Islands as women leaders and Parliamentarians.

Before this discussion moves further, this is not about who leads this country, but it is about leadership that condones corruption at all levels. The kind of leadership that is expected is a leadership that put the interest of the people before its own.

 It is about leadership that recognise the abilities and the capabilities of its people.  It is about leadership that takes the needs of its people into consideration and doing something about it.

It is about leadership that motivates its people to move forward in development, not to be dependant, but to be self- reliant.

It is about leadership that empowers its people to stand up for what they believe in.  Above all, it is leadership about doing what is right as one listens to the voice of its people and responding positively to those calls.

It is critical to discuss the issue on whether women are more -less corruptible than men. However, looking at the Solomon Islands context, there is indeed a link between higher representation of men in government and higher levels of corruption.

Although this is the scenario here, one cannot correctly say that men are more corrupt than women because the opportunities for women to engage in corrupt activities in this country are minimal as not many women have been placed in positions of power and influence like their male counterparts.

Therefore not many women have the opportunity to engage in networks that are corrupt in their activities.

According to a study of 150 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia by the World Bank, it came to the conclusion that women are more trust worthy and less susceptible to corruption, a finding later substantiated by additional research from the Bank itself.

The idea that women are less corrupt than men is quite a challenging issue to be addressed as was said before, but also offers a great opportunity for discussion in this country.

The issue on Gender equality is also very much linked to why women are not found in many networks in the country that are corrupt as these are very much male dominated.

Such trends in many ways have limited the opportunities for women to be corrupt like many of their male counterparts.

Gender equality is been promoted everywhere in this country.  Donors are putting so much money in advancing the status of women at all levels with the encouragement for women to be represented in Parliament, to become members of Government committees and to be placed in positions of influence and power.

As one can see this is a strategy to engage more women not only to work in the work force, but to see if their leadership would take a different turn from their male counterparts.

Women are enjoying this however it is really trying times for women to prove themselves that their leadership is one of integrity, principle and honesty.  However, Women’s leadership should not be based on integrity alone, but on vision and mission. It is about the role women can play in the institution that employs her.

 Women’s leadership is not about self- investment, but for women to recognise that investing in others is what her leadership is all about.  It is about making a positive difference in the lives of those she governed.

Another annual survey conducted by the “Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer in more than 60,000 households in 60+ countries has consistently found that women are less likely than men to pay bribes. 

It has found that women are less involved in bribery, and are less likely to condone bribe taking, leading to the conclusion that there is a worldwide “gender difference in tolerance for corruption”.

Taking this information into consideration, one may say that paying briberies in this country is done by very few women, and carried out by many men.

The issue on “Paying Commission” by clients to public servants or others in order to do their job quickly is negatively impacting their duties and the services they offer.

At the same time, bribery by many public servants has become hindrance to quality services they supposed to offer their clients.  This is an area that remains unaddressed and has been tolerated by many and this is not only done by public servants, but by the clients as well. “If you can do this for me quickly, I will pay you”.

 In this process, a lot of things are involved such as nepotism, disrespect for the law, dishonesty, stealing and all the evils that comes with it.

The sad thing about this process is almost everyone is involved in it.  So far no body is challenging such a process.

The way in which men and women relate to corruption in this country is different due to the different roles they play in society as well.

 Some have indicated that “the role women played in society which entrusts them with the care of children and elders in the family, makes them more averse to risk. Therefore, in professional settings they are less likely to engage in corruption for fear of being caught and losing their jobs”.

When talking about gender and corruption, it is good to take into account how women live their lives, the kind of work they do, their beliefs, attitude, behaviour with the focus on the socio economic and traditional laws that shape them.

Today it is quite clear that the likely corrupt act of many of our political leaders continues to become barriers to the representation of women in our Parliament.  

Such a corrupt act often takes place during campaign and election times in this country.  This has become abroad daylight bribery when male candidates are dishing out money with promises to voters.

In this scenario, women candidates cannot quite compete with their male counterparts as result of lack of resources. Solomon Islands is prone to act such as this.  This is where corruption is tolerated and neglected as a barrier to achieving such a goal.

Before conclusion, let us reflect on our own situation here in this country when it comes to corruption, the impact of corruption, the kinds of corruption that happens, who is involved, why corruption is tolerated and the many ways men and women can take to combat such an evil.

Let us also take time to look at where in our society does corruption takes place, within the government, the church, NGOs, and communities and lastly the number of men and women who are involved.

As this is addressed, there is currently a great need for more gender collected corruption data, for us to understand more on how corruption affects women and men and the role they can play in combating it. 

“Only with the help of such comprehensive and in-depth research can we hope to eliminate the barriers corruption imposes on gender equity, and ultimately, on development”

By Ella Kauhue