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Engaging in the quota debate: From equal opportunity to equality of presence

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Title: Engaging in the quota debate: From equal opportunity to equality of presence
Author(s): Mendez Johnson, Veronica A.
Advisor(s): Miraftab, Faranak
Department / Program: Latin American & Carib Studies
Discipline: Latin American Studies
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): gender quotas empowerment democratization Chile Peru
Abstract: Since the early 1990s, women have increasingly become visible actors in the formal political arena. However, their advances have varied through the world, and on average women continue to be highly underrepresented in positions of political decision-making. To overcome the gender discriminatory behavior still embedded within political institutions and processes, feminist movements have pressed government heads and political parties to adopt “women friendly” policies. Legislation of gender quotas to secure women’s inclusion in electoral politics is one of such policies. In this thesis, through a comparative analysis of gender legislation in Chile and Peru, I explore the effectiveness of gender quotas policies for women’s greater formal political participation. The study highlights two main observations: Firstly, quotas do not yield equal results wherever applied. Context-specific dynamics influence the effectiveness of quotas. Secondly, despite the success of quota legislation in getting women into positions of power, women’s empowerment is not guaranteed as its outcome. While cultural attitudes may embrace women’s leadership in the top echelons of political power, persisting cultural and institutional factors in society continue to block women’s entrance into previously male dominated spaces. In order to transform formal political arena into processes and institutions inclusive of women and their interests, progressive initiatives challenging the patriarchal and hierarchical structures of power at many different arenas must accompany gender quotas policies.
Issue Date: 2010-08-20
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/16832
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Veronica A. Mendez Johnson
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-08-20
Date Deposited: 2010-08
 

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