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  • Archive Resource

    Does The Political Participation Of Women Matter? Democratic Representation, Affirmative Action And Quotas In Costa Rica

    For many countries, despite their adoption of quotas, women's political participation remains low. Costa Rica, however, presents a success story in terms of increasing women's descriptive representation and, as a country which has tried a variety of quota systems, it represents a unique case study. This article looks at the processes which have influenced the evolution of the Costa Rican experience, and the struggle to achieve effective quota law highlights the importance of clear, unambiguous legislation that leaves no loopholes for those resisting its implementation. However, there is also a cautionary note that although quotas can be effective in increasing numbers, the quest by women's organisations to seek transformation can be co-opted by others leading perhaps to undesired outcomes. …

  • Archive Resource

    Quotas: Add Women And Stir?

    At the Millennium Summit world leaders committed to reducing extreme poverty through a series of targets encompassed within the MDGs, with a deadline of 2015. One of these was to promote gender equality and empower women, and the ‘proportion of seats held by women in national parliament’ was set as a key indicator. With the MDG Review Summit meeting in September 2010, this is an opportunity to consider whether the proportion of women in parliament continues to be the most adequate proxy for women’s political empowerment. This IDS Bulletin explores what the quota has meant as a motorway to women’s accession to political power by drawing on research findings from the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment Research Programme Consortium (‘Pathways’), as well as a series of articles from a special seminar in the Brazilian National Congress as part of this programme, and contributions from other country case studies. …