Are Quotas for Women in Politics a Good Idea?

By Isobel Coleman
Pros and cons of requiring national parliaments to include a minimum number of women
Quotas for women seem to be the hot thing in the Middle East these days. Libya just announced a 10 percent quota for women in its new election law. Tunisia used a form of quotas to enhance women’s participation in its recent election. Iraq has used quotas in parliament and just expanded the use of quotas for women to the civil service; Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan have also used quotas. Over the past week, I’ve received several queries from blog readers about quotas: Which countries use them? How do they work? Are they democratic? Are they even effective? These are all big questions, and to answer them thoroughly is beyond the scope of this blog post, so here is just a snap-shot.
Iraq has a quota reserving 25 percent of parliamentary seats for women. Of the 86 current female parliamentarians, only 5 won enough votes in 2010 to be elected without the quota. Read more

Categories: Africa, Libya

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