Gender Quotas

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The issue of under representation of women in national parliaments has gained prominence in recent decades. A mechanism for increasing female representation is the creation of gender quotas with respect to the number of female representatives within a parliment. Numerous arguments have been put forth for and against the introduction of gender quotas. This essay will discuss the arguments for and against gender quotas aimed at increasing the percentage of women in national parliaments and analyse the different types quota systems based on this discussion.As an example special reference will be made to the introduction of gender quotas in Ireland.

Arguments for and against Gender Quotas?
Gender Quotas are seen by many as a controversial
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The essentialism argument against quotas is that quotas serve to reinforce stereotypes. Essentialist beliefs would be likely to reinforce essentialist beliefs by suggesting that for essentialist reasons, only women can represent women (and therefore that women cannot represent men). Quotas that work by forcing members of a descriptive group to vote only for members of that group and not for members of other groups rigidify group lines. Quotas can force members of a descriptive group to vote only for members of that group and not for members of other groups rigidify group lines in the most dramatic way. However quotas can undermine essentialist beliefs by, allowing a women of into politics in sufficient numbers, therefore allowing both men and women to experience them as being capable in that arena, thus undermining the stereotypes. One of the reasons why few women put themselves forward for election is said to be a lack of female role models in politics. If legislated quotas can get a first number of women elected, more women will…show more content…
The countries with the lowest levels of female political representation such as the United Kingdom, have a Majoritarian system. Germany, however has a high level of female representation, as it uses mixed-list electoral system, with both single member constituencies and a proportional representation system, each of which select half of the members of the Bundestag. In Germany the vast majority of female politicians are elected through the PR list (European Parliment, 1997). In Ireland PR-STV may be somewhat inhibitive compared to other systems such as the German system for female representation. Female candidates appear to systematically receive less votes than their male counterparts (Galligan 2009). To counteract this was suggested that a mixed system similar to the German mixed-list system be introduced. There has been some discussion of mixing STV and List, with some TDs elected in multi-seat STV constituencies and others elected on national party lists (Constitution 2012). Perhaps the clearest immediate benefit from such reform would be this ability to increase female and minority representation in the Dáil through this new closed national list. However it is not clear that this would be justified given that
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