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Year: 2010 Type: Article Language: English

Over the last 20 years, the problem of low levels of representation of women in political office has been mobilising women, and especially feminists, throughout the world. The adoption of quotas has become a much-used tool to address the challenge of increasing women's political representation, and as a route to enhancing women's political empowerment. In Latin America, many countries have adopted quota systems, but with widely varying effects. This article takes stock of Latin American experience and asks to what extent quota systems have served as a pathway of women into politics. Identifying challenges to implementation and factors that have contributed to their success or failure, the article seeks to explore lessons that can be learnt from this experience that can help contribute to strengthening mechanisms and processes that support the achievement of greater equality in a sphere in which women continue to be grossly under-represented.