Do parliamentary gender quotas decrease gender inequality? The case of African countries

  • Valentina Dimitrova-GrajzlEmail author
  • Iyabo Obasanjo
Original Paper


Many countries in Africa score very low on gender equality measures; yet, they have some of the highest percentages of women in parliament. They have managed to achieve significant representation of women in government through fast track measures such as the implementation of gender quotas. In the context of fast track reform, this paper evaluates the effectiveness of such parliamentary gender quotas in general, and in particular of different types of quotas, for improving gender equality in African countries. Our empirical results suggest that although all mandated quota systems lead to an increase in the number of women in policy-making, the type of quota affects the de facto ability of women in parliament to influence legislative agendas and ultimately to improve the lives of women. Our findings have implications for the design of affirmative action measures targeting women’s participation in the political process.


Parliamentary gender quotas African economies and politics Gender inequality 

JEL Classification

O55 D02 D63 B54 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and BusinessVirginia Military InstituteLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Kinesiology and Health SciencesCollege of William and MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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