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When Informality Advantages Women: Quota Networks, Electoral Rules and Candidate Selection in Mexico

  • Jennifer M. Piscopo

As gender quotas change the formal rules governing candidate selection, party leaders use informal practices in order to preserve the choicest candidacies for men. This article uses a critical case to highlight how the opposite also occurs. In Mexico, female elites built informal, cross-partisan networks that, in collaboration with state regulators, successfully eliminated political parties’ practices of allocating women the least-viable candidacies. Traditional party elites rely on informal tactics to secure the status quo, but female party members devise their own strategies to force changes to candidate selection, signalling that informality cannot be theorized as wholly negative for women.

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Jennifer M. Piscopo is Assistant Professor of Politics at Occidental College, Los Angeles. Contact email:

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Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
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