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TIB Study on Women’s Experience of Corruption in Rural Bangladesh


Women are being forced to accept corruption as a way of life, and at the same time they are becoming victims, agents and in some cases beneficiaries of corruption. A study titled ‘Women’s Experience of Corruption: A Snapshot of Two Unions of Bangladesh’ on 12 March 2015 found. TIB undertook this study with an aim to explore women’s experience of corruption in Bangladesh, which included identifying the nature, dimensions and impact of corruption on women, the socio-economic factors responsible for influencing such corruption experience, and how rural women deals with corruption.
In this pre-dominantly qualitative study conducted in two different unions (one located in the affluent district of Gazipur and the other in the destitute Jamalpur district), the study found that social practices in the rural settings are still conservative, banking on the traditional gender roles, which infringes upon women’s freedom of movement. According to the study, rural women perceive an event as corruption only when they are extorted or forcibly coerced into paying money, whereas when they voluntarily indulge in bribery, they don’t perceive it as corruption. Further, they consider resorting to corruption for getting things done as natural and acceptable. 
The study reveals that women are involved with corruption in three ways: (1) as victims when they are extorted for money while receiving services from various institutions and agencies, (2) as actors of corruption when the women themselves indulge in giving bribery to get things done on a voluntary basis, and (3) as instruments of corruption when women are 

used by other parties in corrupt practices such as for extracting loans for offices by using the signatures of women and then later using the loan money for other purposes.
According to the report, the impact of corruption on women occurs on various levels. Women are affected by corruption at personal and family level through health problems, financial losses, and deprivation of other basic needs and necessities such as education and health services. Corruption also impacts women at social level, especially when corruption becomes institutionalized and erodes moral values and ethics of the whole society and at political level when the empowerment of women, especially, the women politicians is jeopardized.  



The study found that social practices in the rural settings are still conservative, banking on the traditional gender roles, which infringes upon women’s freedom of movement  

According the study, women experience more corruption in Bangladesh because of (1) the patriarchal socio-economic structure that ignores women and deprives them of socio-economic equality, (2) lack of empowerment of women, (3) lack of access to various services as well as resources for the women, and (4) lack of good governance in various offices of administration and government.
To mitigate the extent of women’s experience in corruption, TIB recommends that the National Women Development Policy 2011 and the related National Work Plan be implemented to ensure women’s rights. It also recommended that women empowerment activities such as poverty alleviation, security of women in workplace and full and equal participation of women in socio-economic activities be ensured. The recommendations emphasized the roles and responsibilities of women politicians be specified in equal and just footing as their male counterparts. It also recommended for establishing ‘one stop service’ for all sectors. At the implementation level, the report recommends that (1) information regarding service receipt from various government and non-government institutions be disseminated in a gender sensitive way, (2) the internal monitoring and accountability of concerned institutions be strengthened to ensure effective and efficient delivery of women-specific services, (3) monitoring and supervision of union level institutions be strengthened to ensure better transparency and accountability for special services given to women, (4) the scope of corruption be minimized through proper use of information technology, and (5) a gender sensitive complaint lodging system be instituted and punitive actions be taken on the basis of the complaints.