Skip to main content
×
Home

Gender Quotas and Models of Political Citizenship

Abstract

Gender quotas have spread rapidly around the world in recent years. However, few studies have yet theorized, systematically or comparatively, variations in their features, adoption and implementation. This article surveys quota campaigns in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. It proposes that one or more sets of controversies influence the course and outcomes of quota reforms. These revolve around (1) competing principles of equality, (2) different ideas about political representation, and (3) various beliefs about ‘gender’ and its relation to other kinds of political identities. The article draws on these distinctions to identify four broad models of political citizenship that determine the kinds of quota policies that are pursued and their prospects for bringing more women into political office.

Copyright
References
Hide All

1 Strictly speaking, these measures are more accurately viewed as sex quotas, not gender quotas, as they focus on the biological markers of male and female rather than the social markers of masculine and feminine. However, in this article we follow the common practice in the literature of referring to these measures as ‘gender quotas’.

2 Drude Dahlerup, ed., Women, Quotas and Politics (New York: Routledge, 2006); Mona Lena Krook, Quotas for Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Joni Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

3 Kathleen Bruhn, ‘Whores and Lesbians: Political Activism, Party Strategies, and Gender Quotas in Mexico’, Electoral Studies, 22 (2003), 101–19; Miki Caul Kittilson, Challenging Parties, Changing Parliaments: Women and Elected Office in Contemporary Western Europe (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2006).

4 Louise K. Davidson-Schmich, ‘Implementation of Political Party Gender Quotas: Evidence from the German Laender 1990–2000’, Party Politics, 12 (2006), 211–32; Petra Meier, ‘The Mutual Contagion Effect of Legal and Party Quotas: A Belgian Perspective’, Party Politics, 10 (2004), 583–600.

5 Petra Meier, ‘The Evidence of Being Present: Guarantees of Representation and the Belgian Example’, Acta Politica: International Journal of Political Science, 35 (2000), 64–85; Katharine A. R. Opello, Gender Quotas, Parity Reform and Political Parties in France (New York: Lexington Books, 2006).

6 Mona Lena Krook, ‘Reforming Representation: The Diffusion of Candidate Gender Quotas Worldwide’, Politics & Gender, 2 (2006), 303–27.

7 Mark Jones, ‘Gender Quotas, Electoral Laws, and the Election of Women: Lessons from the Argentine Provinces’, Comparative Political Studies, 31 (1998), 3–21; Gregory D. Schmidt and Kyle L. Saunders, ‘Effective Quotas, Relative Party Magnitude, and the Success of Female Candidates: Peruvian Municipal Elections in Comparative Perspective’, Comparative Political Studies, 37 (2004), 704–34.

8 Mala Htun and Mark Jones, ‘Engendering the Right to Participate in Decision-Making: Electoral Quotas and Women's Leadership in Latin America’, in Nikki Craske and Maxine Molyneux, eds, Gender and the Politics of Rights and Democracy in Latin America (New York: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 32–56; Richard Matland, ‘Electoral Quotas: Frequency and Effectiveness’, in Drude Dahlerup, ed., Women, Quotas and Politics (New York: Routledge, 2006), pp. 275–92.

9 Lisa Baldez, ‘Elected Bodies: The Gender Quota Law for Legislative Candidates in Mexico’, Legislative Studies Quarterly, 24 (2004), 231–58; Mark Jones, ‘Quota Legislation and the Election of Women: Learning from the Costa Rican Experience’, Journal of Politics, 66 (2004), 1203–23; Mona Lena Krook, ‘Candidate Gender Quotas: A Framework for Analysis’, European Journal of Political Research, 46 (2007), 367–94.

10 Dahlerup, Women, Quotas and Politics; Krook, Quotas for Women; Krook, ‘Reforming Representation’.

11 Clara Araújo and Isabel García Quesada, ‘Latin America: The Experience and the Impact of Quotas in Latin America’, in Dahlerup, ed., Women, Quotas and Politics, pp. 83–111; Htun and Jones, ‘Engendering the Right to Participate in Decision-Making’.

12 Gretchen Bauer and Hannah Britton, Women in African Parliaments (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Reiner, 2006); Aili Mari Tripp and Alice Kang, ‘The Global Impact of Quotas: On the Fast Track to Increased Female Legislative Representation’, Comparative Political Studies, 41 (2008), 338–361.

13 Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation; Joni Lovenduski and Pippa Norris, eds, Gender and Party Politics (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 1993).

14 Dahlerup, Women, Quotas and Politics; Drude Dahlerup and Lenita Freidenvall, ‘Quotas as “Fast Track” to Equal Representation for Women: Why Scandinavia is No Longer the Model’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 7 (2005), 26–48.

15 Krook, Quotas for Women.

16 Drude Dahlerup, ‘Introduction’, in Dahlerup, ed., Women, Quotas and Politics, pp. 3–31.

17 Matland, ‘Electoral Quotas’.

18 Dahlerup, ‘Introduction’.

19 Mona Lena Krook, ‘Gender Quotas as a Global Phenomenon: Actors and Strategies in Quota Adoption’, European Political Science, 3 (2004), 59–65.

20 Krook, Quotas for Women; Lovenduski and Norris, Gender and Party Politics.

21 Celia Valiente, ‘The Women’s Movement, Gender Equality Agencies and Central-State Debates on Political Representation in Spain’, in Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation, pp. 174–94.

22 Lenita Freidenvall, Drude Dahlerup and Hege Skjeie, ‘The Nordic Countries: An Incremental Model’, in Dahlerup, ed., Women, Quotas and Politics, pp. 55–82; Maria Guadagnini, ‘Gendering the Debate on Political Representation in Italy: A Difficult Challenge’, in Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation, pp. 130–52.

23 Opello, Gender Quotas, Parity Reform and Political Parties in France.

24 Rosie Campbell, Sarah Childs and Joni Lovenduski, ‘Women’s Equality Guarantees and the Conservative Party’, Political Quarterly, 77 (2006), 18–27; Meg Russell, Building New Labour: The Politics of Party Organization (London: Palgrave, 2005).

25 Krook, ‘Gender Quotas as a Global Phenomenon’.

26 Legislative quotas were initially proposed and rejected in Spain in 2003, but were passed as part of a broader gender equality law in March 2007.

27 Isabelle Giraud and Jane Jenson, ‘Constitutionalizing Equal Access: High Hopes, Dashed Hopes?’, in Jytte Klausen and Charles and Maier, eds, Has Liberalism Failed Women? Assuring Equal Representation in Europe and the United States (New York: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 69–88.

28 Petra Meier, ‘The Belgian Paradox: Inclusion and Exclusion of Gender Issues’, in Joni Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation, pp. 41–61.

29 Meier, ‘The Mutual Contagion Effect of Legal and Party Quotas’.

30 Rainbow Murray, ‘Why Didn’t Parity Work? A Closer Examination of the 2002 Election Results’, French Politics, 2 (2004), 347–62.

31 Kittilson, Challenging Parties, Changing Parliaments.

32 Matland, ‘Electoral Quotas’.

33 Joan Wallach Scott, Parité! Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).

34 Lenita Freidenvall, ‘A Discursive Struggle: The Swedish National Federation of Social Democratic Women and Gender Quotas’, NORA: Nordic Journal of Women’s Studies, 13 (2005), 175–86.

35 Carol Bacchi, ‘Arguing For and Against Quotas: Theoretical Issues’, in Dahlerup, ed., Women, Quotas and Politics, pp. 32–51; Mona Lena Krook, ‘Gender Quotas, Norms and Politics’, Politics & Gender, 2 (2006), 110–18; Judith Squires, ‘Quotas for Women: Fair Representation?’, in Joni Lovenduski and Pippa Norris, eds, Women in Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 73–92.

36 Marila Guadagnini, ‘The Debate on Women’s Quotas in Italian Electoral Legislation’, Swiss Political Science Review, 4 (1998), 97–102; Meg Russell, Women’s Representation in UK Politics: What Can Be Done with the Law? (London: The Constitution Unit, 2000).

37 Mona Lena Krook, Joni Lovenduski and Judith Squires, ‘Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand: Gender Quotas in the Context of Citizenship Models’, in Dahlerup, ed., Women, Quotas and Politics, pp. 194–221.

38 Cf. Gøsta Esping-Andersen, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990); Philippe Schmitter, ‘Still the Century of Corporatism?’, in P. Schmitter and G. Lembruch, eds, Trends Towards Corporatist Intermediation (London: Sage, 1979). Both authors focus on discerning the distinct political ‘logics’ of welfare states, theorizing how different dynamics are set in motion across various groups of cases, leading to distinct means and ends of social policy provision. The analysis in this article is based on a kindred approach, but focuses on the dynamics behind gender quota debates, which share some parallels – but are not reducible to – existing citizenship typologies.

39 Arend Lijphart, ‘The Evolution of Consociational Theory and Consociational Practices 1965–2000’, Acta Politica, 37 (2002), 49–72.

40 Jeremy Jennings, ‘Citizenship, Republicanism and Multiculturalism in Contemporary France’, British Journal of Political Science, 30 (2000), 575–98.

41 Jane Mansbridge, ‘Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women?’ Journal of Politics, 61 (1999), 628–57; Anne Phillips, The Politics of Presence: The Political Representation of Gender, Ethnicity and Race (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).

42 Sebastián Royo, ‘A New Century of Corporatism?’ Corporatism in Southern Europe: Spain and Portugal in Comparative Perspective (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood/Praeger, 2002).

43 Lijphart, ‘The Evolution of Consociational Theory and Consociational Practices 1965–2000’.

44 Esping-Anderson, Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism.

45 Esping-Anderson, Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism.

46 Lijphart, ‘The Evolution of Consociational Theory and Consociational Practices 1965–2000’.

47 Lars Trädgårdh, ‘Statist Individualism: On the Culturality of the Nordic Welfare State’, in Ø. Sørensen and B. Stråth, eds, The Cultural Construction of Norden (Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1997), pp. 253–85.

48 David Arter, Scandinavian Politics Today (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999).

49 Cf. Hege Skjeie and Mari Teigen, ‘Political Constructions of Gender Equality: Travelling Towards … a Gender Balanced Society?’, NORA: Nordic Journal of Women’s Studies, 13 (2005), 187–97.

50 Christina Bergqvist, ‘Mäns makt och kvinnors intressen’ (doctoral dissertation, University of Uppsala, 1994); Jan Sundberg, ‘Compulsory Party Democracy: Finland as a Deviant Case in Scandinavia’, Party Politics, 3 (1997), 97–117; Henry Valen, ‘Norway: Decentralization and Group Representation’, in Michael Gallagher and Michael Marsh, eds, Candidate Selection in Comparative Perspective: The Secret Garden of Politics (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1988), pp. 210–35.

51 Walter Korpi, The Democratic Class Struggle (New York: Routledge, 1983); Seymour M. Lipset and Stein Rokkan, Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives (New York: The Free Press, 1967).

52 Oddbjørn Knutsen, ‘Social Class, Sector Employment and Gender as Political Cleavages in the Scandinavian Countries: A Comparative Longitudinal Study, 1970–95’, Scandinavian Political Studies, 24 (2001), 311–50; Hege Skjeie and Birte Siim, ‘Scandinavian Feminist Debates on Citizenship’, International Political Science Review, 21 (2000), 345–60.

53 Jytte Klausen and Charles S. Meier, eds, Has Liberalism Failed Women? Assuring Equal Representation in Europe and the United States (New York: Palgrave, 2001); Krook, ‘Gender Quotas, Norms and Politics’.

54 Denise Baer, ‘Women, Women's Organizations and Political Parties’, in Sue Carroll, ed., Women and American Politics: New Questions, New Directions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 111–45.

55 Anna Harvey, Votes Without Leverage: Women in American Electoral Politics, 1920–1970 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

56 Baer, ‘Women, Women’s Organizations, and Political Parties’.

57 Susan J. Carroll, Women as Candidates in American Politics, 2nd edn (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994).

58 Inter-Parliamentary Union, ‘Women in National Parliaments: Situation as of 30 April 2009’, online at http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm (accessed 28 May 2009).

59 R. Hill and N. S. Roberts, ‘Success, Swing and Gender: The Performance of Women Candidates for Parliament in New Zealand, 1946–1987’, Politics, 45 (1990), 62–80; Elizabeth McLeay, ‘Women and the Problem of Parliamentary Representation: A Comparative Perspective’, in H. Catt and E. McLeay, Women and Politics in New Zealand (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1993), pp. 40–62.

60 H. Cody, ‘Early Lessons from Mixed-Member Proportionality in New Zealand’s Westminster Politics’, New England Journal of Political Science, 1 (2003), 34–51.

61 Jean Drage, Report on the State of Women in Urban Local Government: New Zealand, online at http://www.capwip.org/readingroom/new_zealand.pdf (accessed 24 January 2005).

62 Helena Catt, ‘Frail Success? The New Zealand Experience of Electing Women’ (paper presented at the European Consortium for Political Research, Joint Sessions of Workshops, Edinburgh, 2003).

63 Cody, ‘Early Lessons from Mixed-Member Proportionality in New Zealand’s Westminster Politics’, p. 41.

64 Inter-Parliamentary Union, ‘Women in National Parliaments’.

65 Catt, ‘Frail Success?’

66 Miki Caul, ‘Political Parties and the Adoption of Candidate Gender Quotas: A Cross-National Analysis’, Journal of Politics, 4 (2001), 1214–29; Krook, ‘Reforming Representation’.

67 Russell, Building New Labour; María José Lubertino Beltrán, ‘Historia de la “Ley de Cuotas” ’, in Cuotas mínima de participación de mujeres: El debate en Argentina (Buenos Aires: Fundación Friedrich Ebert, 1992), pp. 9–43.

68 Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation.

69 Squires, ‘Quotas for Women’.

70 Sarah Childs, New Labour’s Women MPs: Women Representing Women (London: Routledge, 2004).

71 Mona Lena Krook and Judith Squires, ‘Gender Quotas in British Politics: Multiple Approaches and Methods in Feminist Research’, British Politics, 1 (2006), 44–66, p. 49.

72 Campbell, Childs and Lovenduski, ‘Women’s Equality Guarantees and the Conservative Party’.

73 France is a unique example of republicanism within the West, but this does not diminish the significance of the category for the purposes of this analysis.

74 Opello, Gender Quotas, Parity Reform and Political Parties in France.

75 Janine Mossuz-Lavau, Femmes/hommes pour la parité (Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 1998).

76 Scott, Parité!

77 Sylviane Agacinski, Parity of the sexes, trans. Lisa Walsh (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001); Françoise Gaspard, Claude Servan-Schreiber and Anne Le Gall, Au Pouvoir, citoyennes!: Liberté, égalité, parité (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1992).

78 Mona Ozouf, Les Mots des femmes: Essai sur la singularité française (Paris: Fayard, 1995); Élisabeth Badinter, ‘Non aux quotas de femmes’, Le Monde, 12 June 1996.

79 Giraud and Jensen, ‘Constitutionalizing Equal Access’.

80 Mariette Sineau, Profession: Femme politique. Sexe et pouvour sous la Cinquième République (Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 2001), p. 3.

81 Murray, `Why Didn’t Parity Work?’

82 Birgit Meyer, ‘Much Ado about Nothing? Political Representation Policies and the Influence of Women Parliamentarians in Germany’, Review of Policy Research, 20 (2003), 401–21.

83 Sarah Elise Wiliarty, ‘Bringing Women to the Party: The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) as a Corporatist Catch-All Party’ (doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 2001).

84 Katharina Inhetveen, ‘Can Gender Equality Be Institutionalized? The Role of Launching Values in Institutional Innovation’, International Sociology, 14 (1999), 403–22; Lynn Kamenitsa and Brigitte Geissel, ‘WPAs and Political Representation in Germany’, in Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation, pp. 106–29.

85 J.B. Brzinski, ‘Women’s Representation in Germany: A Comparison of East and West’, in Richard E. Matland and Kathleen A. Montgomery, eds, Women’s Access to Political Power in Post-Communist Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 63–80.

86 Davidson-Schmich, ‘Implementation of Political Party Gender Quotas’.

87 Joanna McKay, ‘Women in German Politics: Still Jobs for the Boys?’ German Politics, 13 (2004), 56–80.

88 Inter-Parliamentary Union, ‘Women in National Parliaments’.

89 Meier, ‘The Mutual Contagion Effect of Legal and Party Quotas’.

90 Meier, ‘The Evidence of Being Present’.

91 Bérengère Marques-Pereira, ‘Quotas and Parity in Belgium within a European Framework’ (paper presented at the International Political Science Association World Congress, Quebec, 2000).

92 Petra Meier, ‘Why Study Gender Quotas in a Broader Comparative Perspective’, European Political Science, 3 (2004), 99–105.

93 Ann Carton, ‘The General Elections in Belgium in June 1999: A Real Breakthrough for Women Politicians?’, European Journal of Women’s Studies, 8 (2001), 127–35.

94 Petra Meier, ‘Gender Quotas or Electoral Reform: Why More Women Got Elected During the 2003 Belgian Elections’ (paper presented at the Annual Meeting of Dutch and Flemish Political Scientists, Dordrecht, 2003).

95 Legislative quotas were also passed for municipal elections in 1993 and for regional elections in 1995. See Guadagnini, ‘Gendering the Debate on Political Representation in Italy’.

96 Guadagnini, ‘The Debate on Women’s Quotas in Italian Electoral Legislation’.

97 Guadagnini, ‘Gendering the Debate on Political Representation in Italy’. This penalty is identical to the one specified by the French parity law.

98 Regina Köpl, ‘Gendering Political Representation: Debates and Controversies in Austria’, in Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation, pp. 20–40.

99 Online at http://www.quotaproject.org (accessed 24 February 2007). This process is very similar to the one imposed by the Mexican quota law. For more details, see Baldez, ‘Elected Bodies’.

100 Valiente, ‘The Women’s Movement, Gender Equality Agencies and Central-State Debates on Political Representation in Spain’.

101 Cf. Dahlerup and Freidenvall, ‘Quotas as “Fast Track” to Equal Representation for Women’; Freidenvall, Dahlerup and Skjeie, ‘The Nordic Countries’.

102 Maud Eduards, Förbjuden handling. Om kvinnors organisering och feministisk teori (Malmö: Liber, 2002).

103 Cf. Varannan damernas: Slutbetänkande från utredningen om kvinnorepresentation (Stockholm: SOU, 1987).

104 Freidenvall, ‘A Discursive Struggle’.

105 Freidenvall, Dahlerup and Skjeie, ‘The Nordic Countries’; Krook, Quotas for Women.

106 Inter-Parliamentary Union, ‘Women in National Parliaments’.

107 Inter-Parliamentary Union, Women in Parliaments: 19451995: World Statistical Survey (Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union, 1995), p. 236.

108 Dahlerup and Freidenvall, ‘Quotas as “Fast Track” to Equal Representation for Women’.

109 Anne Maria Holli and Johanna Kantola, ‘A Politics for Presence: State Feminism, Women’s Movements and Political Representation in Finland’, in Lovenduski, ed., State Feminism and Political Representation, pp. 62–84.

110 Quotas are imposed by law in Norway and Sweden to govern the composition of corporate boards (Freidenvall, Dahlerup and Skjeie, ‘The Nordic Countries’). Legal quotas were also proposed, but not recommended or ever implemented, for appointed positions in state administrative bodies in Sweden (Varannan damernas, 1987).

111 Eeva Raevaara, ‘In the Land of Equality? Gender Equality and the Construction of Finnish and French Political Communities in the Parliamentary Debates in Finland and France’ (paper presented at the European Consortium for Political Research General Conference, Budapest, 2005).

112 Anne Maria Holli, Eeva Luhtakallio and Eeva Raevaara, ‘Quota Trouble: Talking About Gender Quotas in Finnish Local Politics’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 8 (2006), 169–93, p. 172.

113 Anne Maria Holli, ‘Quotas for Indirectly Elected Bodies: A Tailor-Made Solution for Finland’, European Political Science, 3 (2004); Holli, Luhtakallio and Raevaara, ‘Quota Trouble’.

114 Freidenvall, Dahlerup and Skjeie, ‘The Nordic Countries’.

115 Drude Dahlerup, Vi har ventet længe nok ventet længe nok håndbog i kvinderepræsentation (Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers, 1988), p. 100.

116 Beatrice Halsaa, ‘A Strategic Partnership for Women's Policies in Norway’, in Geertje Lycklama à Nijeholt, Virginia Vargas and Saskia Wieringa, eds, Women’s Movements and Public Policy in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean (New York: Garland Publications, 1998), pp. 167–89.

117 Hege Skjeie, Den politiske betydningen av kjønn: En studie av norsk topp-politikk (Oslo: Institute for Social Research, 1992).

118 Richard E. Matland, ‘How the Election System Structure Has Helped Women Close the Representation Gap’, in Lauri Karvonen and Per Selle, eds, Women in Nordic Politics: Closing the Gap (Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate, 1995), pp. 281–309; Valen, ‘Norway’.

119 Inter-Parliamentary Union, ‘Women in National Parliaments’.

120 Cf. Skjeie and Teigen, ‘Political Constructions of Gender Equality’.

121 Freidenvall, Dahlerup, and Skjeie, ‘The Nordic Countries’.

122 Bauer and Britton, Women in African Parliaments.

123 But see Mona Lena Krook, ‘National Solution or Model from Abroad? Analyzing International Influences on the Parity Movement in France’, French Politics, 5 (2007), 3–19.

124 Pamela Paxton and Melanie Hughes, Women, Politics and Power (Pine Forge, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2007).

* Department of Political Science, Washington University in St Louis (email: ); School of Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck College, London (email: ); and Department of Politics, University of Bristol (email: ), respectively. A much earlier version of this article was presented at the Gender Quota Symposium in Ekerö, Sweden, in June 2004. The authors thank Drude Dahlerup, Richard Matland and Diane Sainsbury, as well as Albert Weale and three anonymous reviewers at the Journal, for their comments on those earlier drafts. They also thank Amanda Driscoll for her help in putting together the footnotes.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 21
Total number of PDF views: 205 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 631 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.