Skip to main content Accessibility help

Peace Accords and the Adoption of Electoral Quotas for Women in the Developing World, 1990–2006

  • Miriam J. Anderson (a1) and Liam Swiss (a1)

The high percentage of women in Rwanda's parliament is well known. At 64%, it scores far above the world average of about 22% (IPU 2013). Rather than an anomaly, Rwanda is representative of many postconflict developing countries that feature women's political representation at above-average levels. A frequently identified correlate of this heightened representation has been the presence of electoral quotas for women (Bush 2011; Fallon, Swiss, and Viterna 2012; Paxton, Hughes, and Painter 2010). More generally, the role of societal rupture and transitions from conflict to peace or from authoritarianism to democracy have been a focus of gender and politics research in recent years (Fallon, Swiss, and Viterna 2012; Hughes 2007; 2009; Hughes and Paxton 2007; Viterna and Fallon 2008). Within such transitions, the role of women's participation has been identified as a key determinant of more beneficial posttransition outcomes for women (Viterna and Fallon 2008). Peace processes and the accords that they yield represent a mechanism through which transition and women's rights become linked and theoretically hold the potential to shape postconflict societies. However, the link between women's involvement in peace processes and the subsequent adoption of electoral quotas has not been explored. In this article, we seek to answer the question: What is the relationship between postconflict transition, peace processes, and quota adoption? To this end, we examine the role played by peace accords and, more specifically, accords with a focus on women's rights in leading countries to adopt electoral quotas for women.

Hide All
All-Party Burundi Women's Peace Conference. 2001. “Final Declaration.” In Engendering Peace: Reflections on the Burundi Peace Process, eds. Burke, Enid D., Klot, Jennifer, and Bunting, Ikaweba. Kenya: UNIFEM.
Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi. 2000. “Women at the Peace Table: Making a Difference.” In Peace Book, eds. Lamptey, Comfort and Sidhu, Gretchen. New York: United Nations Development Fund for Women.
Anderlini, Sanam Naraghi. 2007. Women Building Peace: What They Do, Why It Matters. London: Lynne Rienner.
Anderson, Miriam J. 2010. “Transnational Feminism and Norms in Peace Processes: The Cases of Burundi and Northern Ireland.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 4 (1): 121.
Anderson, Miriam J. 2011. “Gender and Peacemaking: Women's Rights in Contemporary Peace Agreements.” In Peacemaking: A Comprehensive Theory and Practice Reference, eds. Bartoli, Andrea, Nan, Susan Allen, and Mampilly, Zachariah. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International, Vol. 2, 344–77.
Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi. 2000. In UCDP Peace Agreement Dataset v. 1.0, 1989–2005, cited in Lotta Harbom, Stina Högbladh, and Peter Wallensteen. 2006. “Armed Conflict and Peace Agreements.” Journal of Peace Research 43 (5): 617–51.
Ballington, Julie, and Dahlerup, Drude. 2006. “Gender Quotas in Postconflict States: East Timor, Afghanistan, and Iraq.” In Women, Quotas and Politics, ed. Dahlerup, Drude. London: Routledge. 249–58.
Bauer, Gretchen. 2008. “Fifty/Fifty by 2020: Electoral Gender Quotas for Parliament in East and Southern Africa.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 10 (3): 348–68.
Bauer, Gretchen, and Britton, Hannah E., eds. 2006. Women in African Parliaments. London: Lynne Rienner.
Blossfeld, Hans-Peter, and Rohwer, Gotz. 2002. Techniques of Event History Modeling : New Approaches to Causal Analysis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Burke, Enid D., Klot, Jennifer, and Bunting, Ikaweba. 2001. Engendering Peace: Reflections on the Burundi Peace Process. Nairobi: UNIFEM.
Burnet, Jennie E. 2012. Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda. Madison: University of Wisconin Press.
Bush, Sarah S. 2011. “International Politics and the Spread of Quotas for Women in Legislatures.” International Organization 65 (1): 103–37.
Carrillo, Ana Lorena, and Chinchilla, Norma Stoltz. 2010. “From Urban Elite to Peasant Organizing.” In Women's Activism in Latin America and the Caribbean: Engendering Social Justice, Democratizing Citizenship, eds. Maier, Elizabeth and Lebon, Nathalie. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, 140–58.
Chen, Li-Ju. 2010. “Do Gender Quotas Influence Women's Representation and Policies?” European Journal of Comparative Economics 7 (1): 1360.
Chinkin, Christine. 2003. “Gender, Human Rights, and Peace Agreements.” Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution 18 (3): 867–86.
Cleves, Mario A., Gould, William W., and Gutierrez, Roberto G.. 2002. An Introduction to Survival Analysis Using Stata. College Station, TX: Stata Press.
Dahlerup, Drude, ed. 2006. Women, Quotas and Politics. London: Routledge.
Fallon, Kathleen M., Swiss, Liam, and Viterna, Jocelyn. 2012. “Resolving the Democracy Paradox: Democratization and Women's Legislative Representation in Developing Nations, 1975–2009.” American Sociological Review 77 (3): 380408.
Fearon, Kate. 1999. Women's Work: The Story of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
Franceschet, Susan, Krook, Mona Lena, and Piscopo, Jennifer M., eds. 2012. The Impact of Gender Quotas. New York: Oxford University Press.
Fuest, Veronika. 2008. “‘This Is the Time to Get in Front’: Changing Roles and Opportunities for Women in Liberia.” African Affairs 107 (427): 201–24.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter, Wallensteen, Peter, Eriksson, Mikael, Sollenberg, Margareta, and HåStrand, vard. 2002. “Armed Conflict 1946–2001: A New Dataset.” Journal of Peace Research 39 (5): 615–37.
Harbom, Lotta, Högbladh, Stina, and Wallensteen, Peter. 2006. “Armed Conflict and Peace Agreements.” Journal of Peace Research 43 (5): 617–31.
Hassim, Shireen. 2006. Women's Organizations and Democracy in South Africa: Contesting Authority. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Heston, Alan, Summers, Robert, and Aten, Bettina. 2011. “Penn World Tables 7.0.” Available from (accessed November 20, 2013).
Hironaka, Ann. 2002. “The Globalization of Environmental Protection: The Case of Environmental Impact Assessment.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 43 (1): 6578.
Hughes, Melanie M. 2007. “Windows of Political Opportunity: Institutional Instability and Gender Inequality in the World's National Legislatures.” International Journal of Sociology 37 (4): 2651.
Hughes, Melanie M. 2009. “Armed Conflict, International Linkages, and Women's Parliamentary Representation.” Social Problems 56 (1): 174204.
Hughes, Melanie M. 2011. “Intersectionality, Quotas, and Minority Women's Political Representation Worldwide.” American Political Science Review 105 (3): 604–20.
Hughes, Melanie M., and Paxton, Pamela. 2007. “Familiar Theories from a New Perspective: The Implications of a Longitudinal Approach to Women in Politics Research.” Politics & Gender 3 (3): 370–78.
Hunt Alternatives Fund. 2012. “Luz Mendez.” (accessed September 3, 2013).
Hunt, Swanee, and Posa, Cristina. 2001. “Women Waging Peace.” Foreign Policy 124: 3847.
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). “Electoral System Design Database.” (accessed November 20, 2013).
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). “Voter Turnout Database.” (accessed November 20, 2013).
Interim Constitution Post-Transition of the Republic of Burundi. 2004. Articles 64 and 129.
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). 1995. “Women in Parliaments: 1945–1995.” In Secondary Women in Parliaments: 1945–1995. Geneva: IPU. (accessed December 2, 2013).
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). 2012. “Women in Parliaments: World and Regional Averages (Statistical Archive).” (accessed November 20, 2013).
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). 2013. “Women in Parliaments: World and Regional Averages (Statistical Achive).” (accessed November 25, 2013).
Jacob, Suraj, Scherpereel, John A., and Adams, Melinda. 2013. “Gender Norms and Women's Political Representation: A Global Analysis of Cabinets, 1979–2009.” Governance. (accessed Dec. 2, 2013).
Jaquette, Jane, ed. 1989. The Women's Movement in Latin America: Feminism and the Transition to Democracy. Boston, MA: Unwin-Hyman.
Jessen, Lone. 2009. “Women and Peace Making: Realizing the Vision of Security Council Resolution 1325 in the Peacemaking Work of the United Nations' Department of Political Affairs.” (accessed September 3, 2013).
Kenworthy, Lane, and Malami, Melissa. 1999. “Gender Inequality in Political Representation: A Worldwide Comparative Analysis.” Social Forces 78 (1): 235–68.
Kreutz, Joakim. 2005. “Armed Conflict Termination Dataset Codebook: Version 1.0.” Uppsala Conflict Data Program: Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University Uppsala, Sweden.
Krook, Mona Lena. 2004. “Gender Quotas as a Global Phenomenon: Actors and Strategies in Quota Adoption.” European Political Science 3 (3): 5965.
Krook, Mona Lena. 2006. “Reforming Representation: The Diffusion of Candidate Gender Quotas Worldwide.” Politics & Gender 2 (3): 303–27.
Krook, Mona Lena. 2009. Quotas for Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide. New York: Oxford University Press.
Krook, Mona Lena, O'Brien, Diana Z., and Swip, Krista M.. 2010. “Military Invasion and Women's Political Representation: Gender Quotas in Postconflict Afghanistan and Iraq.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 12 (1): 6578.
López Robles, Claudia V. 2008. “Mujeres y Participación En Los Partidos Políticos: Entre Instituciones Débiles y Exclusión Por Género.” In Del Dicho Al Hecho: Manual De Buenas Practicas Para La Participación De Mujeres En Los Partidos Políticos Latinoamericanos, eds. Llanos, Beatriz and Sample, Kristen. Stockholm: International IDEA.
Mabobori, Catherine. 2001. “Case Study Two: Burundi.” In Africa Women's Forum: Women and Conflict Management in Africa: A Report of the 3rd Africa Women's Forum of the Africa Leadership Forum: Tunis, Tunisia, 22–24 January 2001, ed. Aderinwale, Ayodele, Benja-Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria: ALF Publications 4749.
Marshall, Monty G., Jaggers, Keith, and Gurr, Ted R.. 2009. “Polity IV Project: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800–2009.” Polity IV. Dataset published online by the Center for Systemic Peace:
Matland, Richard E. 2006. “Electoral Quotas: Frequency and Effectiveness.” In Women, Quotas and Politics, ed. Dahlerup, Drude. London: Routledge, 275–92.
Noma, Emiko, and Taylor, Laura. “Leading the Way to Peace: Study Guide.” (accessed November 21, 2013).
Pankhurst, Donna. 2002. “Women and Politics in Africa: The Case of Uganda.” Parliamentary Affairs 55 (1): 119–28.
Pascasie, Ndeberi. N.d. “La Femme Et L'approche Participtive En Politique.” Le Renouveau du Burundi.
Paxton, Pamela. 1997. “Women in National Legislatures: A Cross-National Analysis.” Social Science Research 26 (4): 442–64.
Paxton, Pamela, Hughes, Melanie M., and Green, Jennifer L.. 2006. “The International Women's Movement and Women's Political Representation, 1893–2003.” American Sociological Review 71 (6): 898920.
Paxton, Pamela, Hughes, Melanie M., and Painter, Matthew A.. 2010. “Growth in Women's Political Representation: A Longitudinal Exploration of Democracy, Electoral System and Gender Quotas.” European Journal of Political Research 49 (1): 2552.
Paxton, Pamela, and Kunovich, Sheri. 2003. “Women's Political Representation: The Importance of Ideology.” Social Forces 82 (1): 87.
Ramirez, Francisco O., Soysal, Yasemin, and Shanahan, Suzanne. 1997. “The Changing Logic of Political Citizenship: Cross-national Acquisition of Women's Suffrage Rights, 1890 to 1990.” American Sociological Review 62 (5):735–45.
Rehn, Elisabeth, and Sirleaf, Ellen Johnson. 2002. Women, War and Peace: The Independent Experts' Assessment on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women's Role in Peace-Building. New York: UNIFEM.
Swiss, Liam. 2009. “Decoupling Values from Action: An Event-History Analysis of the Election of Women to Parliament in the Developing World, 1945–90.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 50 (1): 6995.
Swiss, Liam. 2012. “The Adoption of Women and Gender as Development Assistance Priorities: An Event History Analysis of World Polity Effects.” International Sociology 27 (1): 96119.
Themnér, Lotta, and Wallensteen, Peter. 2011. “Armed Conflict, 1946–2010.” Journal of Peace Research 48 (4): 525–36.
Tripp, Aili Mari, Casimiro, Isabel, Kwesiga, Joy, and Mungwa, Alice. 2009. African Women's Movements: Changing Political Landscapes. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Tripp, Aili Mari, and Kang, Alice. 2008. “The Global Impact of Quotas.” Comparative Political Studies 41 (3): 338.
UNIFEM. 2000. Proceedings of the All-Party Burundi Women's Peace Conference. Nairobi: UNIFEM Regional Office for East, Central and Horn of Africa.
Viterna, Jocelyn, and Fallon, Kathleen M.. 2008. “Democratization, Women's Movements, and Gender-Equitable States: A Framework for Comparison.” American Sociological Review 73 (4): 668–89.
Waylen, Georgina. 2006. “Constitutional Engineering: What Opportunities for the Enhancement of Gender Rights?”Third World Quarterly 27 (7): 1209–21.
Waylen, Georgina. 2007. Engendering Transitions: Women's Mobilization, Institutions, and Gender Outcomes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bank, World. 2010. World Development Indicators. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Wotipka, Christine M., and Ramirez, Francisco O.. 2008. “World Society and Human Rights: An Event History Analysis of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” In The Global Diffusion of Markets and Democracy, eds. Simmons, Beth A., Dobbin, Frank, and Garrett, Geoffrey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 303–43.
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? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed