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Electoral Gender Quotas: Between Equality of Opportunity and Equality of Result
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2007 (English)In: Representation, ISSN 0034-4893, Vol. 43, no 2, 73-92 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In almost 100 countries throughout the world, parties and parliaments have responded to growing national and international pressure to increase women’s political representation by

introducing electoral gender quotas.

Opponents often see quotas as a violation of the liberal principle of merit. In contrast, quota advocates see gender quotas as a compensation for direct or structural discrimination against women and as an effective instrument for achieving gender balance in political institutions, which is considered essential for democratic development.

Based on data on electoral gender quotas from all over the world, this article discusses the basic principles of gender quotas in politics. It is shown that many different types of gender quotas are in use and that various types are preferred in different regions in the world. Variations are also

found according to level of democracy and electoral system.

The implication of different quota regimes, defined as the combination of the electoral system and the quota type applied, is scrutinised in relation to two different concepts of equality: equality of opportunity and equality of result. It is concluded that – contrary to what is commonly believed – electoral gender quotas come closer to providing real equality of opportunity than equality of result. Quota regimes may even increase competition over elected positions, since gender quotas change the most common de facto situation, where men only compete with men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 43, no 2, 73-92 p.
Keyword [en]
Quotas, Women in Politics, Electoral systems/ kvotering, kvinnor i politik, valsystem
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-10610OAI: diva2:177129
Available from: 2008-01-04 Created: 2008-01-04 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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