Corruption undermines the quality and quantity of public services. It fuels inequalities in accessing essential services, reduces the resources available to the public – particularly women, girls, and groups at risk of discrimination – and is a major obstacle in effectively and efficiently allocating public money for education and healthcare.
According to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer – Africa 2019, which surveyed over 47,000 people in 35 African countries, one in four users of public services paid a bribe. Women, girls and groups at risk of discrimination often rely more on public services, with women comprising two-thirds of all patients in public health systems and children being the next most significant group. This means that they are the most affected by this type of corruption. This situation further deepens inequalities, widens the development gap and increases the poverty rate among those most marginalised.
Corruption and discrimination are each major obstacles to the achievement of sustainable and inclusive development. This report identifies and explores the direct, causal relationship and interconnection between them.
What's at stake?
Social and cultural norms and patriarchal structures pre-determine gender social roles and create stereotypes and perceptions that women and girls are inferior to men and boys. In certain contexts, these structures translate into women lacking access to credit, land, education and the labour market compared to their male counterparts, undermining their financial independence and economic development, leading to unequal gender relations and uneven power relations. Such perceptions often limit their ability to fully participate in public processes to influence the design and implementation of policies that affect their lives, including those on health and education. The resulting policies fail to consider and address their needs yet exclude them from political spheres, where decisions over resource allocations and public policy development are made. Gender inequality gaps are widened this way, worsening the position of the marginalised even further.
Women and girls also face specific vulnerabilities to exploitation, both human and sexual, especially when they lack access to information about their rights and ways to exercise them and speak out against abuses of power without fearing reprisals.
These pre-existing gender dynamics fuel corruption and reduce access to public services.
Certain forms of corruption in service delivery – such as clientelism, patronage and bribery – undermine the human right of equal access to public services. They also exacerbate fundamental inequalities that violate citizens' access, affecting the most marginalised and underrepresented segments of the population the most.
What we're doing
In partnership with Transparency International’s national chapters in six countries and with technical expertise from Transparency International’s Global Thematic Network Initiative on Health, we are working to address the identified barriers and improve access to education and healthcare services for women, girls as well as other groups at risk of discrimination in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.
We believe this goal will be achieved if:
- public institutions take measures to close corruption loopholes in the education and health sectors
- women, girls and groups at risk of discrimination become increasingly aware of their rights, and engaged in demanding accountability in education and health services delivery
- national, regional and international stakeholders increasingly recognise the need to mainstream anti-corruption in service delivery in these areas
Research and awareness-raising
Through in-depth country-specific research, we will identify gaps in accessing health and education services and how gendered forms of corruption affect people’s ability to benefit from them. The findings will inform our awareness-raising and advocacy activities aimed at improving access for women, girls and other groups at risk of discrimination.
We will strengthen public institutions and government bodies’ capacity to mainstream anti-corruption in their programmes as well as adopt and implement gender-responsive anti-corruption policies. At the same time, we will inform and educate women, girls and groups at risk of discrimination about their rights and safe ways to claim them and demand accountability from those in power.
Advocacy and safe reporting mechanisms
We will create access to safe, secure, accessible, effective and gender-sensitive mechanisms for victims and witnesses to report corruption through our Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres that specialise in legal advice and technical support.
In collaboration with partners, we will carry out joint advocacy initiatives at national, regional, and international levels to address gendered forms of corruption in education and healthcare service delivery and promote gender mainstreaming in anti-corruption issues.