The Impact of Gender Quotas

quotasHaving just read The Impact of Gender Quotas edited by Susan Franceschet, Mona Lena Krook, and Jennifer M. Piscopo, I was glad to see that they draw similar conclusions about gender quotas that I did based on my cross-country analysis involving all free and partly free countries here and here. Using different case studies, the contributors to this edited volume seem to find little evidence that the gender quotas led to better representation of what is referred to as women’s interests. Quotas only work where there is strong cultural support for these quotas. This is where I take a different interpretation, arguing that it isn’t the quotas but the support for these that matter.

Like most contributions to the topic, the book maintains a positive outlook on quotas, arguing that perhaps there are long-term benefits we cannot see yet. Isn’t that just a reflection that we want quotas to work, because as an institutional fix they’d offer a relatively easy solution to the problem? In my view, the trouble with this is that it can distract from the real challenge: fixing the broken values and attitudes.

Ruedin, Didier. 2013. Why Aren’t They There? The Political Representation of Women, Ethnic Groups and Issue Positions in Legislatures. Colchester: ECPR Press.

Ruedin, Didier. 2012. “The Representation of Women in National Parliaments: A Cross-National Comparison.” European Sociological Review 28 (1): 96–109. doi:10.1093/esr/jcq050.

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