There is now a wide and diverse literature on the relationship between gender and corruption. This module unpacks that, illustrating how, where and why gender and corruption can be inter-related.

Work on corruption and gender falls into distinct categories. On the one hand, there is an ever-growing body of work outlining how corruption impacts women disproportionately. The nature of that impact is different in different places, and over the course of this module, you’ll try to make sense of why that is.

On the other hand, a debate rages as to whether gender has an impact on when corruption takes place and what form it takes.

The so-called ‘fairer sex thesis’ has a particular angle on this, and that leads to the advocacy of a particular sets of politics; it argues that more women in politics will lead to less corruption and arguably better public-policy outcomes.

Just as there are fair sex thesis advocates, there are critics who argue that such positions are based on a misleading understanding of the real-world evidence. This module will help you dive into this debate.

In summary, this module assesses competing perspectives on the relationship between corruption and gender, and it analyses the extent to which increasing gender equality can also be an effective anti-corruption tool.

Module Lead: Liljana Cvetanoska

What you’ll learn

  • You’ll learn about the relationship between corruption and gender-specific policy outcomes.
  • You’ll learn to critically evaluate the role that gender may plausibly play in causing particular forms of corruption.
  • You’ll gain a greater understanding of how gender factors into debates on how we might move forward and tackle corruption. This includes analysis of arguments that propose gender equality is a significant anti-corruption tool, as well as counterarguments that propose gender is less significant.

By the end of the module, you’ll be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the differential impacts that corruption has on both men and women
  • explain why the issue of whether gender equality can be an effective anti-corruption tool remains so contested
  • apply this knowledge to a range of real-world cases where gender and corruption outcomes appear to be inter-related.

Types of assessment may include:

  • a written review (30%) – you’ll review one of the core texts on the relationship between corruption and gender
  • a group presentation (20%) – you’ll outline a legislative or policy initiative that you believe would reduce any given gender-related corruption impact
  • a 1,500-word written essay (50%) – you’ll analyse gender-related corruption impacts in one of the following areas: access to politics, access to services, or human rights protection in a specific context.