Electoral Gender Quota Systems and their Implementation in Europe

15-09-2011

The report maps the diffusion of electoral gender quotas in the 30 EU/EEA countries. In 21 of the countries some type of gender quotas are in use, either legislated or voluntary party quotas. The report evaluates the effectiveness of different quota types in different electoral systems. Some gender quotas have resulted in major leaps in women’s representation, while others had led to almost no change. The conclusion is that in order to be effective in changing women’s historical underrepresentation electoral gender quotas have to fit the electoral system and should include regulations about the rank order of women and men on the electoral lists as well as sanctions for non-compliance. In general, the report reveals a mixed picture in Europe when it comes to women’s representation. This up-dated version of the 2008-study (PE 408.309) shows that women’s parliamentary representation increased only from 23.6 % in 2008 to 24.7% in 2011. In the most recent parliamentary election in 13 of the countries as well as in the election to the European Parliament women’s representation increased, but ten countries experienced stagnation and in seven for the countries women’s share of the MPs dropped. Eight case studies on Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom are included in the report.

The report maps the diffusion of electoral gender quotas in the 30 EU/EEA countries. In 21 of the countries some type of gender quotas are in use, either legislated or voluntary party quotas. The report evaluates the effectiveness of different quota types in different electoral systems. Some gender quotas have resulted in major leaps in women’s representation, while others had led to almost no change. The conclusion is that in order to be effective in changing women’s historical underrepresentation electoral gender quotas have to fit the electoral system and should include regulations about the rank order of women and men on the electoral lists as well as sanctions for non-compliance. In general, the report reveals a mixed picture in Europe when it comes to women’s representation. This up-dated version of the 2008-study (PE 408.309) shows that women’s parliamentary representation increased only from 23.6 % in 2008 to 24.7% in 2011. In the most recent parliamentary election in 13 of the countries as well as in the election to the European Parliament women’s representation increased, but ten countries experienced stagnation and in seven for the countries women’s share of the MPs dropped. Eight case studies on Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom are included in the report.

Údar seachtarach

Drude Dahlerup and Lenita Freidenvall with the assistance of Emil Johansson, Eleonora Stolt, Katarina Bivald and Lene Persson-Weiss (WIP, Women in Politics Research Centre, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University)