Gender Quotas Database

Country Data



Germany (Federal Republic of Germany)

Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 258 of 736 (35%) seats in the Deutscher Bundestag / Federal Diet are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? No
  • For the Upper House? No
  • For the Sub-National Level? No

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? Yes

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Jan 18, 2023

Single/Lower House

Deutscher Bundestag / Federal Diet

Total seats 736
Total Women 258
% Women 35%
Election Year 2021
Electoral System MMP
Quota Type No legislated
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline

Upper House

Bundesrat / Federal Council

Total seats 69
Total Women 28
% Women 41%
Election Year
Electoral System
Quota Type No legislated>
Election details IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: No legislated Constitution  
Electoral law  
Legal sanctions for non-compliance No data available
Rank order/placement rules No data available

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

Party Official name Details, Quota provisions
Social Democratic Party of Germany Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands [SPD] At least 40 % of each gender in boards and lists (Party Statutes, Article 11 [2], Electoral Code of the Party, Article 4 & 8 [2]).
The Left Party Die Linkspartei On nomination lists, the first two and then every other place are reserved for women (Party Statutes, Article 10 [5]).
Alliance 90/The Greens Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Since 1986, Alliance 90/The Greens have had a 50 percent quota for women on party lists (Geissel 2008, p. 61).
Christian Democratic Union Christlich-Demokratische Union [CDU] At least one-third of CDU electoral lists and party officials should be women (1996). If this quota is not met, the internal elections have to be repeated (Party Statutes, Article 15 [2-3]; Geissel 2008, p. 62).
Christian Social Union in Bavaria Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern [CSU] Equal participation of women and men within the organs of CSU is recognized. Women and men should each hold 50% of the offices. Elections for the inner party and district board according to §§ 22 (P.1 [1-4]) and 26 (P.1 [1-4]) are then valid if half of the elected are women; if the total number is odd the difference between women and men must not be greater than one. Additionally, listing of applicants for public elections must ensure balanced participation of men and women. (Party Statutes, Article 8 [1-3])

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional Information

SPD introduced a quota system in 1988. The target was 25 percent by 1990, 33 percent by 1994 and 40 percent by 1998. According to the 40 percent rule, it is required that the lists should be zipped, with the option of allocating every fifth place to someone of either sex (Geissel 2008, p. 61-62).


In boards, committees and delegations, Die Linke statutes dictate that half of the members should be women. If not enough women are available, the chairs are empty until by-elections can take place (Statutes, Article 10 [4]; Geissel 2008, p. 62).


Additional reading

  • See the latest updates on Germany on iKNOW Politics
  • Kamenitsa, L. and Geissel, B. 2005. ‘WPAs and political representation in Germany’, in Lovenduski, J. et al (eds) State Feminism and Political Representation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 106-129.
  • Brzinski, J.B. 2003. ‘Women’s Representation in Germany: A Comparison of East and West’, in R.E. Matland and K.A. Montgomery (eds) Women’s Access to Political Power in Post-Communist Europe, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 63–80.
  • Meyer, B. 2003. ‘Much Ado about Nothing? Political Representation Policies and the Influence of Women Parliamentarians in Germany’, Review of Policy Research, 20, 3: 401–21.
  • McKay, J. 2003. ‘Women in German Politics: Still Jobs for the Boys?’, German Politics, 13, 1: 56–80.
  • Davidson-Schmich, L.K. ‘Voluntary Gender Quotas and Women’s Representation: Evidence from German State Legislatures’, paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Southern Political Science Association, Savannah, GA, November 2002.
  • Klausen, J. and Maier, C. 2001. Has Liberalism failed women? Assuring equal representation in Europe and the United States. New York: Palgrave
  • Lemke, C. 2001. ‘Changing the Rules of the Game: The Role of Law and the Effets of Party Reforms on Gender Parity in Germany.’  Klausen, Jytte and Charles Maier (eds.). Has Liberalism Failed Women? Assuring Equal Representation in Europe and the United States. New York: Palgrave
  • Wiliarty, S.E. 2001. Bringing Women to the Party: The Christian Democratic Union
    (CDU) as a Corporatist Catch-All Party, doctoral thesis, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Inhetveen, K. 1999. ‘Can Gender Equality Be Institutionalized? The Role of Launching Values in Institutional Innovation.’ International Sociology 14, no. 4. pp. 403-422.
  • Peters, A. 1999. Women, Quotas and Constitutions: A Comparative Study of Affirmative Action for Women under American, German, European Community and International Law. Cambridge: Kluwer Law International.
  • Hoecker, B. (ed.). 1998. Politische Partizipation von Frauen in Europa. Opladen: Leske and Budrich.
  • Kolinsky, E. 1998. ‘Women and Politics in Western Germany.’ Rueschmeyer, Marilyn (ed.) Women in the Politics of Post Communist Eastern Europe. Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, Inc. pp. 64-88.
  • Rueschmeyer, M. 1998. ‘Women in the Politics of Eastern Germany: The Dilemmas of Unification.’ Rueschmeyer, Marilyn (ed.) Women in the Politics of Postcommunist Eastern Europe. Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, Inc. pp. 89-115.
  • Wettig-Danielmeier, I. (ed.). 1997. Greift die Quote? Cologne: Stadtwege-Verlag.
  • Hoecker, B. 1996. Innerparteiliche Frauenförderung in Grossbritannien und Deutschland. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press
  • Haug, F. 1995. ‘The Quota Demand and Feminist Politics.’ New Left Review 209. pp. 136-145.
  • Hoecker, Beate. 1994.’The German Electoral System- A Barrier to Women?’ Rule, Wilma and Joseph Zimmerman (eds.) Electoral Systems in Comparative Perspective: Their Impact on Women and Minorities. Westport: Praeger.
  • Rössler, B. (ed.). 1993. Quotierung und Gerechtigkeit: Eine moralphilosophische Kontroverse. Frankfurt am Main: Campus.
  • Kolinsky, E. 1991. ‘Political participation and parliamentary careers: women’s quotas in West Germany.’ West European Politics 14, no. 1. pp. 56-72.
  • Lang, R. 1989. Frauenquoten: Der einen Freud, des anderen Leid. Bonn: J. H. W. Dietz Nachf.
  • German Parliament website,

Additional reading

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