Gender Quotas: A Path to Empowerment?

Morgan Clark


Gender equality is an idea that is enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals. In order to achieve gender equality, a significant amount of women’s empowerment must occur. Since women’s empowerment is a way out of poverty, many countries have been undertaking tasks to assist women’s ascent in society. One institution that has been established is gender quotas, which allocates seats for women in legislatures. This paper will explore how a country’s context can influence the effectiveness of gender quotas in bringing women into legislatures. From there, I will look at how female politicians affect society at large. By studying regions of the world, I measure societal effects through political engagement at the local level and public opinion of women. Overall, gender quotas do seem to increase public opinion of women, but do not increase local level political engagement. Further research should be done on what policies women in legislatures support.


Gender Quotas; Development; Empowerment

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