Sigma: Journal of Political and International Studies


Luke Bell


female representation, corruption, female opportunity, political culture


In recent years, several influential studies have reported that high levels of female representation in national legislatures seem to correspond with low levels of countrywide corruption. Scholars have expressed excitement at the prospect that simply adding women to government will “diminish the need for a painful, expensive, and politically difficult process of rooting out corruption via oversight and prosecution” (Esarey and Chirillo 2013: 364). Some governments have launched initiatives to increase the number of women in positions of public responsibility as a means of combating corrupt behavior. Peru, for example, recently created an allwomen police division in an attempt to curb instances of extortion in traffic ticketing, and Mexico took similar action several years later (Karim 2011; Keating 2013). Does the mere presence of female public officials truly ward off corruption, or are other factors at work?