Women, Politics, and Gender Quotas


gender quotas

How to Cite

Moghadam, V. M. (1). Women, Politics, and Gender Quotas. Al-Raida Journal, 18-27. https://doi.org/10.32380/alrj.v0i0.77


The argument for gender quotas – made by women’s rights activists across the globe has come about in response to women’s continued collective marginalization from political power. According to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (2005), the global average for women’s parliamentary representation is 18 percent, with high rates in the Nordic countries, Rwanda, and Argentina, and low rates in the Arab region and Iran.
In the vast majority of countries, political power – legislative, juridicial, and executive rests in the hands of men. In recent decades, therefore, the worldwide growth of a population of educated, employed, mobile, and politically aware women, combined with the diffusion of the UN-sponsored global women’s rights agenda, has increased calls for women’s political participation and representation. One of the mechanisms to realize this objective is the gender quota. Feminist groups around the world favor the implementation of the gender quota – which may come in the form of a constitutional quota, an electoral quota, or a political party quota – but it remains both controversial and elusive, especially in the Middle East.



Brown, N., Hamzawy, A., & Ottaway, M. S. (2006, March). Islamist movements and the democratic process in the Arab world: Exploring gray zones. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Paper No. 67. Retrieved March 20, 2009, from http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/cp_67_grayzones_final.pdf

Carothers, T. , & Ottaway, M. S. (Eds.). (2005). Uncharted journey: Promoting democracy in the Middle East. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

El-Braizat, F. (2002). Muslims and democracy: An empirical critique of Fukuyama’s culturalist approach. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 43, 269-299.

Eschle, C. (2000). Global democracy, social movements and feminism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Fallon, K. (2008). Democracy and the rise of women’s movements in sub-saharan Africa. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Fraser, N., & Naples, N. A. (2004). To interpret the world and to change it: An interview with Nancy Fraser. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 29 (4), 1103-1124.

Ghammari, B. (2008). Municipal elections and democratic change in Iran. Unpublished paper.

Heinen, J. (1992). Polish democracy is a masculine democracy. Women’s Studies International Forum,15 (1), 129-138.

Huber, E., & Stephens. J.D. (2000). Partisan governance, women’s employment, and the social democratic service state. American Sociological Review, 65, 323-342.

Hughes, M. (2008). Politics at the intersection: A cross-national analysis of minority women’s legislative representation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University, USA.

Inglehart, R., & Norris, P. (2003). Rising tide: Gender equality and cultural change around the world. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Inter-Parliamentary Union. (2005). Women in national parliaments. Retrieved March 20, 2009, from


Jamal, A. (2005). Reassessing support for Islam and democracy in the Arab world? Evidence from Egypt and Jordan. Paper presented at the 2005 annual meetings of the American Political Science Association (APSA) (1-4 September).

Lister, R. (1997). Citizenship: Feminist perspectives. London: Macmillan.

Moghadam, V. M. (2003). Modernizing women: Gender and social change in the Middle East. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. 2nd ed.

Moghadam, V. M. (2004, July). The gender of democracy: Linking women’s rights and democratization in the Middle East. Arab Reform Bulletin, (2) 7.

Nanivadekar, M. (2005). Indian experience of women’s quota in local government: Implications for future strategies. UNDAW, Expert group on the equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes, with particular emphasis on political participation and leadership

Retrieved March 20, 2009, from http://www.iknowpolitics.org/node/6884

Paxton, P. , & Hughes, M. (2007). Women, politics, and power. Pine Forge Press: Sage Publications.

Phillips, A. (1991). Engendering democracy. University Park, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Phillips, A. (1995). The politics of presence: The political representation of gender, ethnicity and race. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.

Tessler, M. (2007). Do islamic orientations influence attitudes toward democracy in the Arab world? Evidence from the world values survey in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria. In M. Moaddel (Ed.), Values and perceptions of the islamic and middle eastern publics (pp. 105-125). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2005). Arab human development report: Toward the rise of women in the Arab world. New York: UNDP.

The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF). (2007). State of the world’s children.

Retrieved March 15, 2009, from http://www.unicef.org/sowc07/docs/sowc07_chap4.pdf

Weldon, S. L. (2002). Protest, policy and the problems of violence against women: A cross-national comparison. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.


Download data is not yet available.