Corruption is often defined in economic terms. Stories usually focus on the financial fallout that communities face, or money stolen from public funds because of the decisions of unethical political and social actors. But corruption isn’t just about money. It has deeper effects for citizens and civil society, and women in particular.

To continue to raise awareness of the impact of corruption on Guatemalans, Participación Cívica, a program implemented by Counterpart International and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted a forum with women leaders from the Guatemalan government to examine how corruption is affecting women’s participation in government and civic space.

Leading_Guatemalan_Women_And_Representatives_From_Counterpart_and_USAID

Speakers at the Effects of Corruption on Women’s Participation in Government in Guatemala Forum with (background left to right) Dale Wegkamp, Counterpart’s Representative in Guatemala & Thomas Delaney, Director of USAID Guatemala

Speakers included:

  • Thelma Aldana, Attorney General and Chief General of the Public Prosecutors Office
  • Sandra Moran, Deputy of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala
  • Hilda Morales, Deputy Attorney General for Human Rights
  • Miriam Dominguez, Coordinator of the Presidential Commission Against Racism and Discrimination

This is the first time that government representatives have come together with civil society to publicly discuss the impact that corruption has on women’s participation in Guatemala. And the women leaders were not shy.


“Women in municipal government suffer discrimination.”


“A woman in a position of power or in the private space cannot make a mistake, because the patriarchal culture immediately disqualifies her.” – Miriam Dominguez


“A corrupt state cannot attend to the needs for access to justice for Guatemalan women.” – Thelma Aldana

Women Voices in Anti-Corruption Efforts

By showcasing these different perspectives, the Forum not only provided a space for these politicians to share their experiences, but also to educate many of the young women in attendance about the challenges they will face and the need to combat corruption in Guatemala.


“The fight against corruption deserves the involvement of all citizens.”

With 120 people attending the live event and another 4000 engaging with the live tweet session, their messages resonated, particularly inside Guatemala. And that’s what matters most. As Thomas Delaney, Director of USAID Guatemala, explained in his opening remarks, “Spaces like this one are of vital importance. They allow us to reflect on how corruption affects Guatemalan women [and] reaffirm the importance of promoting gender and social inclusion as a way to create a more transparent and accountable Guatemala.”

Corruption is a social, political and economic scourge with much larger consequences than are often realized. This forum served to call attention to the structural causes and social conditions that have long affected the active participation of Guatemala’s largest vulnerable community, women. By sharing their powerful stories in an open and transparent forum, these women demonstrated what a more just, inclusive and democratic Guatemala can be. Participación Cívica and Counterpart International are proud to stand with these women who are raising their voices, and being bold leaders for change, despite the obstacles.

This event was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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