Parents are primary educators of their children. The Holy Bible states in Proverbs 22: 6: “Train up a child in a way that he should grow and when he grows he would never depart from it.” Children normally learn a lot of virtues and vices at home. This is why women, who are most times the sole carers and teachers of children, should see it as a responsibility to impart in children the best of values, such as selflessness, honesty, justice, hard work and integrity. Children often learn when parents demonstrate such core values in the home. Women can best build the minds of their children at an early age. The home is the key and the mother’s role supersedes because it is the home where virtues are learned and adopted.
Women also have the resistance role to play- by resisting or turning down any material thing acquired through corrupt means by the giver, be it the woman’s partner/husband or any other member of the family or society in general. This would serve as a deterrent and will serve as an inspiration to the young kids growing up. In my view, if women oppose corrupt practices, their partners/husbands and children, will desist from indulging in them.
The role of women in fighting corruption must not only be limited to the home but be extended to both public and private institutions as well. A study conducted by the World Bank (2010) in 150 countries in three continents –Europe, Africa and Asia- reveals that there is a link between higher representation of women in government and lower level of corruption. This study reveals that public institutions can be less corrupt if more women are at the helm of affairs. Another conducted by Transparency International found that “women are less likely than men to pay bribe.” This indicates that women are less likely than men to engage in corruption, whether as bribe takers or givers.
Although several studies have revealed that women are less corrupt than men, it is also important to note that corruption can be particularly harsh on women compare to men. A study by the Democratic Governance Group (2015) reveals that “Corruption particularly harms poor section of the population and since women make up majority of the poor, especially in developing countries, they are likely to be affected severely.”
Women mostly face social, cultural, political and institutional discrimination. Women have greater need of healthcare services and sometimes subjected to sexual extortion in lieu of bribes. In many parts of the world women have a higher chance of experiencing corruption in their daily lives, whether enrolling their children in school, seeking medication for themselves or family.
Corruption denies women and girls their rights, prevents them from actualizing their potential and even put their lives at risk. A research conducted by Transparency International (2015) shows that more women die in childbirth and more girls miss out on secondary education in countries where bribery is common. In some cases, sexual acts are demanded in place of bribes. The sad reality is that most of these acts go unreported due to the perceive shame associated with sexual crimes.
This is where I think the whistle-blowing role of women in fighting corruption comes into consideration. In the context of Sierra Leone, women should be bold enough to take the matter public-report to the law enforcement agencies like the Anti-Corruption Commission and the police any case of corruption and sexual extortion. They should also help the legal process and be ready to testify in court to ensure that justice is dispensed. As such, women must have uncompromising stance on issues of sexual exploitation and any other corrupt practices they encounter.