GESI Analysis Captures Armenian Views on Gender and Corruption

Written by: Shushanik Khurshudyan,

Armenia has taken a gradual approach to anti-corruption reform, resulting in steady and positive improvements. However, institutionalizing anti-corruption policies, addressing corruption in public service delivery, and transforming social norms to reject corruption remain critical first steps in Armenia’s anti-corruption efforts. EnCompass is the main gender partner in USAID’s Armenia Integrity Project (AIP), a five-year project with the goals of reducing opportunities for corruption and reinforcing public demand for improved governance and accountability in Armenia. As part of our work, we provide technical assistance, conduct research, and support organizational development to incorporate a gender and social inclusion lens in the overall project objectives, which include strengthening integrity systems and corruption-prevention efforts in institutions; supporting the implementation of legal-regulatory measures to prevent corruption; and facilitating collective action to engage local entities in corruption prevention and accountability.

As part of this effort, we recently conducted the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Analysis: Corruption in Armenia (the AIP GESI Analysis) to understand GESI dynamics in Armenia that are relevant to anti-corruption, good governance, and accountability. This GESI analysis draws upon secondary data, collected via a document review of relevant national, regional, and global literature on the topic of GESI and corruption, and primary data, collected via key informant interviews (KIIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) with the Armenian government, local self-government bodies, private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders. CSO and NGO stakeholders largely represented targeted communities. A collaborative, participatory design process engaged AIP Activity staff, USAID, the Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC), international NGOs, and Armenian CSOs, and a participatory validation session was conducted to validate and co-create findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Specifically, this research set out to:

  • Uncover gendered patterns of corruption in Armenia;
  • Identify the differential impact corruption has on women, men, youth, the elderly, people living with disabilities, and other excluded groups in Armenia;
  • Spotlight differences in perceptions of corruption and anti-corruption among women, men, youth, the elderly, people living with disabilities, and other excluded groups in Armenia;
  • Highlight gender-based constraints and opportunities and identify knowledge gaps for the integration of a GESI lens into project activities; and
  • Develop recommendations on using the findings.

The GESI Analysis findings reveal that the public does not view corruption as a gendered issue, but rather a challenge to Armenia being a democratic state. While the public’s perception of corruption has changed over time, corruption remains pervasive, and people’s understanding of what it is and is not varies. This affects how corruption is seen to affect women and men, youth and the elderly, people living with disabilities, and other socially excluded groups. Respondents were either unaware of or did not observe gendered differences in the effects of corruption, and few saw a link between corruption and gender and social inclusion. However, when prompted, respondents shared examples of how corruption increases barriers to women’s access to health care and other social services, and its negative effects on women in the workplace.

At the same time, respondents were aware of and acknowledged the impact of harmful gender norms and roles. Many respondents noted a link between women’s increased participation in public administration and politics and an anticipated decline in corruption; however, underlying gender inequalities may prevent women from fully engaging in high-level roles. In addition, people living with disabilities were perceived to be particularly vulnerable to corruption, and respondents indicated that youth living with disabilities are particularly affected in the education system.

The analysis found that men and women engage in corruption for different reasons, and gender norms and roles within the household influence how they do so: men are more likely to engage in grand corruption, and women in petty corruption. While men tend to engage in corrupt business practices and income-related corruption, women are more likely to engage in corruption as users of social services, such as health care and education. Similar to what other studies have shown, the analysis found that women are typically in lower-level positions within the workplace and have less exposure to or opportunity to engage in corruption.

The study showed that access to resources, including employment, income, and social networks, affects whether and the degree to which women engage in corruption, whether they are forced to do so to gain access to services and other resources, or for personal gain. Challenges in seeking employment and persistent wage gaps may place women at a socioeconomic disadvantage that could lead them to participate in corruption. Engagement in corruption, in general, is documented in the report via primary data collection (KIIs and FGDs) to be most prevalent in the public sector, especially where it intersects with the private sector. Specifically, corruption is reported to be common in public education—a sector that predominantly employs women—which indicates that gender is not the deciding factor in the prevalence of corruption, rather the opportunity to engage in the act is key.

Based on these findings, the analysis includes several recommendations to address corruption, its effects, how it relates to gender, and public perceptions of corruption in Armenia. The recommendations include integrating GESI into ongoing and new anti-corruption programs, strategies, and action plans. Stakeholders may also consider integrating anti-corruption components into programming that targets women; conducting communications and outreach activities to increase knowledge and awareness of the impacts of corruption on socially excluded groups; and developing an index or similar measurement tool to identify and document incidences of corruption experienced by women, youth, and other vulnerable groups.

The report will be shared with all stakeholders involved in the GESI Analysis.

The results will inform the development of the CPC’s institutional strategy, policies, and outreach, and will affect Commission activities. They will also be used to ensure that key AIP activities are gender and inclusion sensitive.

For further details, refer to the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Analysis: Corruption in Armenia Report.

Leave a Reply

Skip to content