“The quota encouraged me to run”: evaluating Jordan’s municipal quota for women
Gender quotas are a means to improve women’s political representation. This article examines the impact of Jordan’s municipal quota enacted in 2007. The quota drew into the political arena women who would otherwise not have run for office. Women councillors have firmly established their rightful presence on the local councils, a public realm previously deemed only for men. They successfully navigated the give-and-take of local Jordanian politics. In the process they gained a hard-won, invaluable political education and emerged as Jordan’s first sizable body of experienced women politicians on the local level. This article draws on extensive personal interviews with twenty-six female councillors from the first cohort of women elected under the quota. The results show that even a quota enacted in a clientelist system such as Jordan’s can bring positive change for women’s representation in politics.