Report : Do Quotas affect Women’s Participation in Parliament?

Do Quotas affect Women’s Participation in Parliament?

“What remains contentious however is the extent to which the PR Quota system has transformed social and gender relations beyond the narrow interests of the political parties and those who have benefited….While the experiment with the quota presented an opportunity to increase representation, on its own, it has not been enough and without political will and accountability by political parties, will not deliver equality in the medium to long term.” (WALPE. 2019. p20)

Internationally, studies show a range of other factors that inhibit or facilitate the representation of women (RAU. 2020 (a)). These are structural, economic, social and cultural, and it is evident that there are enormous differences in the effects of these factors in countries across the world, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa (Yoon. 2004; Yoon. 2001). It is also evident that women’s representation has increased in many countries in the absence of any marked changes in these factors, but also evident that representation of women can be low even where these factors have changed dramatically (Krook. 2010). For example, the United States has reached the 20% threshold only at the last election, but Namibia and South Africa have achieved 45% representation for women: it cannot be argued that these two latter countries have an absence of patriarchy, high education levels for women generally, and are economically developed such that there are many employment opportunities for women. Zimbabwe has achieved a 32% threshold, and clearly all the factors operating in Namibia and South Africa apply.

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