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As if we need another reason to boost the number of women in politics, a new study has found that female politicians are less likely to engage in corruption than their male counterparts.
The study by political scientists at Rice University is titled “’Fairer Sex’ or Purity Myth? Corruption, Gender, and Institutional Context,”. Researchers collected data from around the world to test whether female politicians would participate in corruption and to what extent they would tolerate it happening around them in various contexts. They concluded that women tend to feel more bound by the political norms of the society in which they work. This means that in democratic countries that generally have low-levels of corruption, women are less likely to be corrupt or tolerate corrupt practices happening around them.
However, it isn’t good news all round, because in non-democratic environments where practices such as bribery, favouritism, or personal loyalty are commonplace and not considered corrupt, female politicians draw their behaviour from a generally more corrupt environment. As a result, Rice University researchers have specified their findings show that it is only in democracies where women outperform men in susceptibility to corruption.
Justin Esarey, the author of the research, told Science Daily that simply recruiting more women into an already corrupt political environment will not decrease corruption, but boosting the number of female politicians in democracies could well have a profound impact on corruption levels.