Since the 1990s, the majority of Latin American countries have
implemented gender quota legislation in order to raise the proportion of
women participating in political decision making. This Brief analyses
the impact these laws have had on the number of women in Latin American
parliaments, as well as the conditions that have made certain quota laws
more successful than others. Latin American experience of gender quotas
in legislative elections has many lessons to offer since this region
ranks amongst the most inclusive in the world.
Well-designed gender quota legislation enables governments to increase
the representation of women in political decision making spaces, and
represent a first step towards equal representation between men and
To improve women’s opportunities to get elected, quota norms need strong
enforcement mechanisms and should contain a positioning mandate.
Proportional representation systems with closed lists are provide a more
favourable context for quota norms to achieve success.
[Available in English and Spanish.]
Perron, M. ELLA Policy Brief: Promoting Gender Equity in Politics through Affirmative Action Measures: Latin American Gender Quotas. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2013) 9 pp.