This 2005 edition of Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers covers women’s access to the legislature in three steps.

First, it looks into the obstacles women confront when entering parliament, be they political, socio-economic or ideological and psychological. Second, it presents solutions to overcome these obstacles, such as changing electoral systems and introducing quotas. Third, it details strategies for women to influence politics once they are elected to parliament, an institution which is traditionally male dominated.

The original Handbook, published in 1998, was produced as part of International IDEA’s work on women and political participation. Since its release, the picture regarding women’s political participation has slowly changed. Overall, the past decade has seen gradual progress with regard to women’s presence in national parliaments. This second edition incorporates relevant global changes, presenting new and updated case studies.

Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers, A Revised Edition will be of use to a wide range of actors working to promote the participation and representation of women in political structures, including activists, academics, researchers, journalists, and other stakeholders working to advance women in politics.


Publication date
01 January 2005
Julie Ballington, Azza Karam
Number of pages
91-85391-19-0 (Print)


 1. Introduction
Julie Ballington       

Section 1. The Issues and the Obstacles

2. Obstacles to Women’s Participation in Parliament
Nadezhda Shvedova

Case studies:
The Arab world - Amal Sabbagh
Ecuador - Nina Pacari
Indonesia - Khofifah Indar Parawansa

Section 2. Overcoming Obstacles

3. Enhancing Women’s Political Participation: Legislative Recruitment and Electoral Systems
Richard E. Matland

Case studies:
Latin America - Mala N. Htun
France - Mariette Sineau
Burkina Faso - Nestorine Compaoré

4. Increasing Women’s Political Representation: New Trends in Gender Quotas
Drude Dahlerup

Case Studies: 
Rwanda - Elizabeth Powley
Argentina - Elisa Carrio
South Asia - Shirin Rai

Section 3. Making an Impact

5. Women in Parliament: Making a Difference
Azza Karam and Joni Lovenduski

Case Studies:
Inter-Parliamentary Union - Sonia Palmieri and Kareen Jabre
South Africa - Sheila Meintjes
Sweden - Lena Wängnerud

6. Conclusion
Azza Karam

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Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers, A Revised Edition

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