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Coalitions Matter: Citizenship, Women, and Quota Adoption in Africa

  • Alice J. Kang and Aili Mari Tripp

We provide new theory and evidence of the role of domestic women’s coalitions in the adoption of gender quotas. Previous research has shown the importance of women’s movements to policy change. We show that specific types of mobilization, often multiethnic in character, are a more precise way of describing these influences. Using a new dataset of coalitions in 50 countries in Africa (1989–2014), we first examine where coalitions are likely to emerge. Controlling for factors that correlate with their formation, we find that when domestic women’s organizations form a coalition for quotas, governments are more likely to adopt them and do so more quickly. This correlation holds when controlling for international aid, involvement of international women’s movements, and whether countries recently emerged out of major armed conflict, complementing recent scholarship that highlights global influences. A comparative case study of the adoption of a gender quota in Senegal and non-adoption in Benin helps illustrate the nuances of the theory.

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