Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Gender Quotas and Women's Substantive Representation: Lessons from Argentina

  • Susan Franceschet (a1) and Jennifer M. Piscopo (a2)
Abstract

This article integrates the comparative literature on gender quotas with the existing body of research on women's substantive representation. Quota laws, which bring greater numbers of women into parliaments, are frequently assumed to improve women's substantive representation. We use the Argentine case, where a law mandating a 30% gender quota was adopted in 1991, to show that quotas can affect substantive representation in contradictory and unintended ways. To do so, we disaggregate women's substantive representation into two distinct concepts: substantive representation as process, where women change the legislative agenda, and substantive representation as outcome, where female legislators succeed in passing women's rights laws in the Argentine Congress. We argue that quota laws complicate both aspects of substantive representation. Quotas generate mandates for female legislators to represent women's interests, while also reinforcing negative stereotypes about women's capacities as politicians. Our case combines data from bill introduction and legislative success from 1989 to 2007 with data from 54 interviews conducted in 2005 and 2006. We use this evidence to demonstrate that representation depends on the institutional environment, which is itself shaped by quotas. Institutions and norms simultaneously facilitate and obstruct women's substantive representation.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Archenti Nélida, and Johnson Niki. 2006. “Engendering the Legislative Agenda With and Without the Quota.” Sociología, Problemas e Práticas 52: 133–53.
Baldez Lisa. 2004. “Elected Bodies: The Gender Quota Law for Legislative Candidates in Mexico.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 29 (2): 231–58.
Baldez Lisa. 2006. “The Pros and Cons of Gender Quotas: What Happens When You Kick Men Out and Let Women In?Politics & Gender 2 (March): 102–9.
Barón Maria, et al. 2007. “Legislative Analysis: Argentina's National Congress: 1998–2007.” Buenos Aires: Directorio Legislativo. http://www.directoriolegislativo.org (August 2007).
Beckwith Karen. 2007. “Numbers and Newness: The Descriptive and Substantive Representation of Women.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 40 (1): 2749.
Bratton Kathleen A. 2005. “Critical Mass Theory Revisited: The Behavior and Success of Token Women in State Legislatures.” Politics and Gender 1 (March): 97125.
Bratton Kathleen A., and Ray Leonard P.. 2002. “Descriptive Representation, Policy Outcomes, and Municipal Day Care Coverage in Norway.” American Journal of Political Science 46 (2): 428–37.
Carroll Susan J. 2001. “Representing Women: Women State Legislators as Agents of Policy-Related Change.” In The Impact of Women in Public Office, ed. Carroll Susan J.. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 321.
Caul Kittilson Miki. 2005. “In Support of Quotas: Setting New Standards, Bringing Visible Gains.” Politics & Gender 1 (December): 638–45.
Chama Mónica. 2001. Las Mujeres y el Poder. Buenos Aires: Ciudad Argentina.
Childs Sarah. 2004. New Labour's Women MPs: Women Representing Women. London and New York: Routledge.
Childs Sarah. 2006. “The Complicated Relationship between Sex, Gender and the Substantive Representation of Women.” European Journal of Women's Studies 13 (1): 721.
Childs Sarah, and Krook Mona Lena. 2006. “Should Feminists Give Up on Critical Mass? A Contingent Yes.” Politics & Gender 2 (December): 522–30.
Chowdhury Najma. 2002. “The Implementation of Quotas: Bangladesh Experience—Dependence and Marginality in Politics.” Paper presented at the Regional Workshop, “Implementation of Quotas: Asian Experiences,” Jakarta, Indonesia.
Coppedge Michael. 1998. “The Dynamic Diversity of Latin American Party Systems.” Party Politics 4 (4): 547–68.
Dahlerup Drude. 2006a. Women, Quotas, and Politics. New York and London: Routledge.
Dahlerup Drude. 2006b. “The Story of the Theory of Critical Mass.” Politics & Gender 2 (December): 511–22.
Dahlerup Drude, and Freidenvall Lenita. 2005. “Quotas as a ‘Fast Track’ to Equal Representation for Women: Why Scandinavia Is No Longer the Model.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 7 (1): 2648.
Dodson Debra L. 2006. The Impact of Women in Congress. New York: Oxford University Press.
Duerst-Lahti Georgia. 2005. “Institutional Gendering: Theoretical Insights into the Environment of Women Officeholders.” In Women and Elective Office: Past, Present, and Future, ed. Thomas Sue and Wilcox Clyde. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 230–43.
Grey Sandra. 2006. “The ‘New World’? The Substantive Representation of Women in New Zealand.” In Representing Women in Parliament: A Comparative Study, ed. Sawer Marian, Tremblay Manon, and Trimble Linda. London and New York: Routledge, 134–51.
Htun Mala. 2004. “Is Gender Like Ethnicity? The Political Representation of Identity Groups.” Perspectives on Politics 2 (3): 439–58.
Htun Mala. Forthcoming. Sex, Race, and Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Htun Mala, and Timothy J. Power. 2006. “Gender, Parties, and Support for Equal Rights in the Brazilian Congress.” Latin American Politics and Society 48 (4): 83104.
Jones Mark P. 1997. “Legislator Gender and Legislator Policy Priorities in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies and the United States House of Representatives.” Policy Studies Journal 25 (4): 613–29.
Jones Mark P. 2002. “Explaining the High Level of Party Discipline in the Argentine Congress.” In Legislative Politics in Latin America, ed. Morgenstern Scott and Nacife Benito. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 147–84.
Jones Mark P. 2004. “The Recruitment and Selection of Legislative Candidates in Argentina.” Paper presented at “Pathways to Power: Political Recruitment and Democracy in Latin America,”Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.
Kathlene Lyn. 1994. “Power and Influence in State Legislative Policymaking: The Interaction of Gender and Position in Committee Hearing Debates.” American Political Science Review 88 (3): 560–76.
Krook Mona Lena. 2005. Politicizing Representation: Campaigns for Gender Quotas Worldwide. Ph.D. diss. Colombia University.
Krook Mona Lena. 2007. “Candidate Gender Quotas: a Framework for Analysis.” European Journal of Political Research 46 (3): 367–94.
Lubertino María José. 2003. “Pioneering Quotas: The Argentine Experience and Beyond.” Paper presented at the Regional Workshop, “The Implementation of Quotas: The Latin American Experiences,” Lima, Peru.
Mansbridge Jane. 1999. “Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women? A Contingent ‘Yes.’ ” Journal of Politics 61 (3): 628–57.
Mansbridge Jane. 2005. “Quota Problems: Combating the Dangers of Essentialism.” Politics & Gender 1 (December): 622–38.
Marx Jutta, Borner Jutta, and Caminotti Mariana. 2007. Las Legisladoras: Cupos de Género y Política en Argentina y Brasil. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI.
Nanivadekar Medha. 2006. “Are Quotas a Good Idea? The Indian Experience with Reserved Seats for Women.” Politics & Gender 2 (March): 119–28.
Perceval Maria Cristina. 2001. Avis Rarae: Impacto de la Ley de Cupo en la Argentina (1991–1998). Buenos Aires: PROLEAD-BID.
Phillips Anne. 1995. The Politics of Presence. Oxford: Clarendon.
Piscopo Jennifer M. 2006. “Engineering Quotas in Latin America.” CILAS Working Paper Series, #23. San Diego: Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies, University of California.
Pitkin Hanna. 1967. The Concept of Representation. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Poggione Sarah. 2004. “Exploring Gender Differences in State Legislators’ Policy Preferences.” Political Research Quarterly 57 (2): 305–14.
Reingold Beth. 2000. Representing Women: Sex, Gender, and Legislative Behavior in Arizona and California. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press.
Rodríguez Victoria E. 2003. Women in Contemporary Mexican Politics. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Sapiro Virginia. 1981. “When Are Interests Interesting? The Problem of Political Representation of Women.” American Political Science Review 75 (3): 701–16.
Schmidt Gregory D. 2003. “The Implementation of Gender Quotas in Peru: Legal Reform, Discourses, and Impacts.” Paper presented at the Regional Workshop, “Implementation of Quotas: Latin American Experiences,” Lima, Peru.
Schwindt-Bayer Leslie A. 2006. “Still Supermadres? Gender and Policy Priorities of Latin American Legislators.” American Journal of Political Science 50 (3): 570–85.
Swers Michelle. 2005. “Connecting Descriptive and Substantive Representation: An Analysis of Sex Differences in Cosponsorship Activity.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 30 (3): 407–33.
Tamerius Karin L. 1995. “Sex, Gender, and Leadership in the Representation of Women.” In Gender, Power, Leadership, and Governance, ed. Duerst-Lahti Georgia and Kelly Rita Mae. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 93112.
Taylor-Robinson Michelle, and Heath Roseanna Michelle. 2003. “Do Women Legislators Have Different Policy Priorities Than Their Male Colleagues? A Critical Test.” Women & Politics 24 (4): 77101.
Thomas Sue. 1994. How Women Legislate. New York: Oxford University Press.
Towns Ann. 2003 “Women Governing for Modernity: International Hierarchy and Legislature Sex Quotas.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia.
Tremblay Manon, and Pelletier Rejean. 2000. “More Feminists or More Women? Descriptive and Substantive Representation of Women in the 1997 Canadian Federal Election.” International Political Science Review 21 (4): 381405.
Trimble Linda. 2006. “When Do Women Count? Substantive Representation of Women in the Canadian Legislature.” In Representing Women in Parliament: A Comparative Study, ed. Sawer Marian, Tremblay Manon, and Trimble Linda. London and New York: Routledge, 120–33.
Tripp Aili Mari. 2003. “The Changing Face of Africa's Legislatures: Women and Quotas.” Paper presented at the Regional Workshop, “Implementation of Quotas: African Experiences,” Pretoria, South Africa.
Tripp Aili Mari. 2006. “Uganda: Agents of Change for Women's Advancement?” In Women in African Parliaments, ed. Bauer Gretchen and Britton Hannah E.. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 111–32.
Vega Arturo, and Firestone Juanita M.. 1995. “The Effects of Gender on Congressional Behavior and the Substantive Representation of Women.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 20 (2): 213–22.
Vincent Louise. 2004. “Changing the Way Things Look without Changing the Way Things Are.” Journal of Legislative Studies 10 (1): 7196.
Wängnerud Lena. 2005. “Testing the Politics of Presence Empirically: The Case of Women's Representation in the Swedish Riksdag.” Paper presented at the Third European Consortium for Political Research Conference Budapest, Hungary.
Waylen Georgina. 2000. “Gender and Democratic Politics: A Comparative Analysis of Consolidation in Argentina and Chile.” Journal of Latin American Studies 32 (3): 765–93.
Weldon S. Laurel. 2002. “Beyond Bodies: Institutional Sources of Representation for Women in Democratic Policymaking.” Journal of Politics 64 (4): 1153–74.
Whip Rosemary. 1991. “Representing Women: Australian Female Parliamentarians on the Horns of a Dilemma.” Women & Politics 11 (3): 122.
Wolbrecht Christina. 2002. “Female Legislators and the Women's Rights Agenda: From Feminine Mystique to Feminist Era.” In Women Transforming Congress, ed. Rosenthal Cindy Simon. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 170–97.
Ybarra Gustvo. 2005. “Todo quedará en familia en el futuro Senado” [All stays within the family in the future Senate.] La Nación, 28 August 1985.
Young Iris Marion. 2000. Democracy and Inclusion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Zetterberg Pär. 2008. “The Downside of Gender Quotas? Institutional Constraints on Women in Mexican State Legislatures.” Parliamentary Affairs 61 (3): 442460.
Recommend this journal

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

Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
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: 62
Total number of PDF views: 638 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1768 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.