The Efficacy Of Gender Quotas Essay

1487 Words Dec 14th, 2016 6 Pages
The efficacy of gender quotas in politics remains uncertain. Critics of quotas argue that quotas will lead to tokenism, with elite women being placed in office to promote a party agenda, or perpetuate “descriptive representation,” the idea that only a woman can represent women. Supporters of quotas view them as necessary to overcome cultural barriers that bar women from political office without waiting decades for gradual change. Regardless, the majority of African countries with high female participation in political office have utilized some form of gender quota, such as constitutional quotas, election law quotas, and political party quotas, to increase women’s political participation (Bauer et. al 2008; Conner 2008). South Africa and Uganda represent two out of the five continental African countries listed in the top 25 worldwide with regard to women’s representation in national legislatures (Bauer et. al 2006). According to Conner, South Africa and Uganda introduced gender quotas after decades of civil unrest. Moreover, they have benefitted from gender quotas, as both countries now have high rates of women in political office (Conner 2008). The nations vary in the types of gender quotas they use. In South Africa, parties follow the nation’s constitutional mandate of 1996 for gender equality by voluntarily adopting quotas. On the other hand, in Uganda, the legislative body reserves seats for women. The success of gender quotas can be measured by legislation passed by…

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