Gender quotas aim to increase women’s parliamentary representation. However, the effectiveness of quotas varies. This article explores this issue further by examining the case of Poland, where gender quotas were introduced in 2011. The Polish case presents an interesting puzzle. Although the overall number of women candidates increased almost twofold in comparison with the pre-quota period, this translated into only a slight increase in the number of women deputies in 2011 and 2015. Hence, the impact of quotas was limited. However, the partisan analysis shows that there was a significant variation among individual parties: whereas some parties promoted wholeheartedly women’s access to political office, other parties did not facilitate it. By drawing on rational choice institutionalism, this article shows that institutions and preferences of political parties matter for the effectiveness of gender quotas. In the case of ineffective gender quota policy, political parties have a final say in women’s parliamentary representation.
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