Global Database of Quotas for Women

Quota Project
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 20:00
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
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This website reveals that the use of electoral quotas for women is much more widespread than is commonly held. An increasing number of countries are currently introducing various types of gender quotas for public elections: In fact, half of the countries of the world today use some type of electoral quota for their parliament.

Today women constitute 19 percent of the members of parliaments around the world. Recently, Rwanda superseded Sweden at the number one in the world in terms of women's parliamentary representation — 56.3 percent women against Sweden's 47.3 percent. Rwanda is an example of the new trend to use electoral gender quotas as a fast track to gender balance in politics. Other parliaments, however, still have very few women elected.

Given the slow speed by which the number of women in politics is growing, there are increased calls for more efficient methods reach a gender balance in political institutions. Quotas present one such mechanism. The introduction of quota systems for women represents a qualitative jump into a policy of exact goals and means. Because of its relative efficiency, the hope for a dramatic increase in women's representation by using this system is strong. At the same time quotas raise serious questions and, in some cases, strong resistance. What are quotas and in what way can quotas contribute to the political empowerment of women? Are electoral gender quotas a violation of the principles of liberal democracy? Or are gender quotas in fact a contribution to processes of democratization, since quotas ensure the inclusion of women into political assemblies, and furthermore, because electoral gender quotas at best open up "the secret garden of nominations" by making the recruitment process mote transparent and formalized. It is important to note that there are many different types of quota systems, and that a quota system that does not match the electoral system in the country may be merely symbolic.

See full Quota database here.