Given the slow rate at which the representation of women in decision-making bodies around the world is increasing, various positive action measures, such as electoral quotas, have been proposed or implemented to address the present gender imbalance in decision-making. Governments and political parties have experimented with different types of quotas; electoral quotas may be constitutionally or legislatively mandated or take the form of voluntary political party quotas. They usually set a target or minimum threshold for women, and may apply to the number of women candidates proposed by a party for election, or they may take the form of reserved seats in the legislature.
As the debate about the use of quotas as a measure to increase the political participation of women gains momentum, International IDEA is collaborating with Stockholm University in a global research project on electoral quotas for women. The project is the first global comparative analysis of the discursive controversies about quotas and how they work in practice.
- Electoral Quotas for Women Website
The Electoral Quotas for Women Website provides an overview of the use of electoral quotas for women worldwide. Data is presented for over 90 countries, including 74 countries where quotas have been implemented in the constitution, regulations and laws or where political parties have implemented their own internal quotas.
- Regional workshops
International IDEA has conducted qualitative research to determine how quotas work, the effect of quotas for women and quota enforcement in different countries. IDEA convened a series of regional workshops that bring together researchers and practitioners to collect country- and region-specific information on quota implementation and enforcement, and to develop a network of researchers and experts working in this field.
- “Enhancing Women’s Participation through Special Measures in the Arab Region”, Cairo, Egypt, 5-6 December 2004
- “The Implementation of Quotas: European Experiences”, Budapest, Hungary, 22-23 October 2004
- “The Implementation of Quotas: African Experiences”, Pretoria, South Africa, 11-12 November 2003
- “The Implementation of Quotas: Latin American Experiences”, Lima, Peru, 23-24 February 2003
- “The Implementation of Quotas: Asian Experiences”, Jakarta, Indonesia, 25 September 2002
Country case studies from quotaproject.org
Designing for Equality
International IDEA also provides strategic advice on the combination of electoral systems and quotas available to practitioners, researchers and politicians. For example in Peru, International IDEA and local partner Transparencia have created a multi-party round table focused on the development of a new electoral code. Within the framework of this legislative project, participants have paid close attention to the impact of Peru’s electoral system on women’s political participation. The round table has presented and discussed different quota options that may be implemented together with a new electoral system, such as switching from an open list to a closed list system. A quota of 30 per cent representation of women on lists would be maintained, but with the addition of a placement mandate to ensure that women and men are placed in winnable positions, and not unfairly grouped at the bottom, or the top, of the party list.
To learn more on electoral systems and quotas read International IDEA publication: Designing for Equality: best-fit, medium-fit and non-favorable combinations of electoral systems and gender quotas.