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The gendered dimensions of corruption in fragile and conflict affected contexts

Gender, corruption and violent conflict are closely intertwined. However, available evidence remains fragmented; most of the literature explores these relationships in binary terms: between “gender and conflict”, “gender and corruption” and “corruption and conflict”. Holistic analysis of the mutually reinforcing nature of the relationship between gender, corruption and conflict is currently missing. Corruption fuels and sustains violent conflicts in three ways: by generating grievances in society that fuel violence, weakening the capacity of the state to protect its citizens from threats and by undermining trust in government and the legitimacy of the state. In turn, conflicts break down formal accountability structures, thereby creating conditions conducive to the abuse of power, which can express itself in greater levels of both corruption and gender-based violence. The mutually reinforcing nature of the relationship between corruption and conflict has particularly egregious effects on women and girls, as well as other marginalised groups. Corruption in conflict settings reinforces existing pre-conflict inequalities, discrimination and predatory behaviour targeted at the most vulnerable groups.

23 April 2023
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The gendered dimensions of corruption in fragile and conflict affected contexts

Main points

  • Conflict exacerbates the discriminatory and disproportionate impact of corruption on women, girls and other marginalised population groups.
  • Lower constraints on the abuse of power in conflict affected countries appears correlated with a rise in practices such as sextortion and survival sex, as well as forms of petty corruption such as bribery and extortion that have a disproportionate impact on women and girls.
  • Corruption in post-conflict relief and recovery also has an unequal impact on women and other population groups who tend to be more reliant on public services and as such are more affected by the poor availability and quality of public goods (Transparency International 2019). Corruption that undermines post-conflict reconstruction can deprive women of equitable access to vital services such as healthcare, education, and water and sanitation.
  • Post-conflict transitional justice is an important component of peacebuilding, but gender discrimination against women and girls raises additional barriers that prevent women and girls who have fallen victim to corruption or gender-based violence from seeking justice.

Cite this publication

Wanyana, R.; (2023) The gendered dimensions of corruption in fragile and conflict affected contexts . Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:10)

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Racheal Wanyana


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This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)