Quotas as Opportunities and Obstacles: Revisiting Gender Quotas in India

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gender and politics, gender quotas, gender reservations, caste reservations, India, representation and electoral systems

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This article addresses the empirical uncertainty regarding whether gender quotas establish a foundation of political representation and experience that encourages female candidates to compete against men. It updates and expands existing empirical research by contributing an analysis of the most recent electoral data across four municipal corporations in India over two election cycles. Critical questions on the theoretical expectation that gender quotas should encourage and enable women politicians to compete in open-gender contests over time are considered. The Indian quota system has not encouraged women to broadly compete outside the quota at the local level but has made some wards more likely to elect women. Parties also continue to resist nominating women outside the quota but are more likely to do so in wards previously represented by a woman. Finally, the unique overlap of gender and community quotas can discourage incumbency by essentially blocking incumbents from running again in their ward due to shifting community requirements.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Politics & Gender, v. 17, issue 2, p. 324-348