Quotas — A Jump to Equality? The Need for International Comparisons of the Use of Electoral Quotas to obtain Equal Political Citizenship for Women

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April 1, 2013

Quotas — A Jump to Equality? The Need for International Comparisons of the Use of Electoral Quotas to obtain Equal Political Citizenship for Women

For many years feminist organizations around the world have looked upon the Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, as a model for women's equality. One key factor has been the very high representation that women have obtained in parliaments and local councils in the Scandinavian countries, especially since the 1970s. This extraordinarily high representation, seen in a global perspective, has led to the question: “How did you come that far?” What can we learn from the Scandinavian experience? As Nordic researchers we have tried to answer these questions by pointing to structural changes in these countries such as secularization, the strength of social democratic parties and the development of an extended welfare state, women's entrance into the labour market in large numbers in the 1960s, the educational boom in the 1960s, the electoral system and several other actors. Strategic factors are also seen as important, especially the various strategies used by women's organizations in the Nordic countries in order to raise women's political representation.

 

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