The Impact of Corruption on Women’s Political Participation at the Local Government Level: The Case of Sri Lanka

This paper analyzes how different manifestations of corruption hinder women’s political participation at the local level of governance in Sri Lanka. The study is based on a field survey, which monitored and reviewed 79 women aspirants of political office as they navigated the local government or Pradeshiya Sabha electoral process of 2011 in Sri Lanka. While women find it hard to break through the patriarchal dominance in politics, the gendered impact of corruption makes the struggle even more difficult. The study demonstrates that open competition in the electoral process and the proportional representation system of elections do not help advance women’s political representation.

Countering Corruption: Globally or Locally?

Corruption goes along with the meaning of dishonesty, treachery and untruthfulness. However, the exact meaning is difficult to arrive at as it varies depending on the various perspectives. For the West, it is more associated wit the deceitful act for personal economic benefit, whereas it is not limited to the monetary profit in the context of Nepal but also refers to the exploitation, deception or betrayal of others. Therefore, it is significant to acknowledge the meaning and the level of corruption in the particular context in order to find its remedies within the periphery. It is readily accepted that none of the countries are free from corruption, but the problem I see here is the attention of the people to find its solution rather than trying to understand it i-depth in the particular context. I argue that it is necessary to have an in-depth knowledge for understanding the root causes of corruption, based on the particular socio-economic and cultural aspects that help in the sustainable reduction of the practices of corruption. In recent times, corruption has attracted the attention of researchers in the academic arena; not only in economics, but also in public administration, sociology, political science and law. Research in this area includes detailed descriptions of corruption scandals, case studies, and cross-country studies. It also ranges from theoretical models to empirical investigations. However, in the existing review, I found that all the studies are related to measure/ understand global nature of corruption rather than understand, and find the its depth in the particular social context. There are many questions that are yet to be resolved. Does corruption in a particular context have the same nature and extent as there is in the global context? In our attempt to reduce corrupt activities, is it necessary to identify the required socio-economic context? Does corruption in every local level have a distinct character? Can macro-model be well-equipped to address the issue or is it necessary to develop a micro-model to curb corruption?
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