The Implementation of Quotas: European Experiences

This publication is only available in electronic format
1 March 2005
91-85391-63-8 (Print)

This report examines women’s political representation in Europe.

Although the overall representation of women in European Parliaments (including the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States) stands at approximately 18 percent, the differences among the many countries are staggering; from a low of three percent in Kyrgyzstan to a high of 45 percent in Sweden.

In all of Europe, only eight countries have legislated quotas at the national or sub-national level. In 27 countries, political parties have voluntarily adopted some form of quotas. Gender quotas are increasingly viewed as an important policy measure for boosting women’s access to decision-making bodies throughout the world.

This report looks in depth at this particular impediment and compares strategies and ways of overcoming the stereotypes. There are 11 country case studies included in the report: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro and Slovenia.



1. Quota systems: An Overview of Global Trends and Regional Analysis

2. Implementing Quotas: Legal Reform and Enforcement

3. Political Party Quotas in Practice

4. Lobbying for Quotas: International and Regional Cooperation

5. Introducing Quotas: Discourses and Lobbying - Strategies used by Women's Movement

6. The Role of the International Community and International Instruments


Related Content

Image credit: International IDEA

Image credit: International IDEA 

Press Release

A collection of speakers from past events.

Top row from left to right: Patricia Torsney, Permanent Observer for the Inter-Parliamentary Union to the United Nations; Anne-Marie Goetz, Professor of Global Affair at the New York University; Maria Bassols, Deputy Permanent Representative for the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations; Malene Almeida, Coordinator at Praia City Group on Governance Statistics; Rumbidzai Kandawasvika-Nhundu, Senior Advisor at International IDEA. 

Middle Row from left to right:  Annika Silva-Leander, Head of Democracy Assessment at International IDEA; Keboitse Machangana, Former Director of Global Programme at International IDEA; Annika Savill, Executive Head for the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF); Njeri Kabeberi, Chair of International IDEA’s Board of Advisers; Sarah Lister, Head of Governance at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Margot Wallström, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden. 

Bottom row from left to right: Pippa Norris, Lecturer and Political Science at Harvard University; Simonetta Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation; Maria Leissner, Ambassador at Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Riika Laatu, Finnish Ambassador to Myanmar; Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.