“It’s not just a matter of increasing numbers!” Advancing women’s political representation in quota-adopting countries
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Department of Government, Uppsala University
Publication date: 2020-07-16
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Marsela Dauti   

Department of Government, Uppsala University, Gamla Torget 6, 75120 Uppsala, Sweden
Problemy Polityki Społecznej 2020;48:73-91
Electoral gender quotas are among the most contested policies worldwide. A common criticism is that quotas promote undeserving women and therefore undermine the meritocracy. Although criticism persists, paradoxically, it has rarely been subject to empirical testing in Central and Eastern European countries. The objective of the present study is to address this gap by examining the characteristics of a randomly selected sample of 410 representatives in the local councils of Albania. By comparing the councillors across demographic characteristics, political experience, and ties in politics, I show that quotas have promoted a diverse group of women, who, compared to men, are more educated, younger, and more likely to live in rural areas. While the practice of relying on family or kinship ties to advance in local politics is more common among women than among men, differences were not found between women promoted through gender quotas and their non-quota female colleagues. The present findings call into question the assumptions that surround gender quotas, suggesting greater use of evidence to challenge popular perceptions and beliefs.
Special acknowledgments go to the Women’s Network Equality in Decision Making in Albania and the research team
Data collection was funded by United Nations Development Programme — Albania, contract number ALB-092-2016. The article was written while the author held the Marie Curie Fellowship at Uppsala University. The fellowship was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 792969.
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