The History of Electoral Gender Quotas

  • Petra AhrensEmail author
  • Katja Chmilewski
  • Sabine Lang
  • Birgit Sauer
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Political Science book series (BRIEFSPOLITICAL)


This chapter delineates the history of electoral gender quotas globally as well as with a. focus on Germany and Austria. We introduce and explain different quota designs (e.g., legislated quotas, reserved seats, voluntary party quotas) and take stock of central quota reforms in neighboring European countries that we consider instructive for our cases, in particular, Denmark, France, Belgium, and the UK. In the second part of the chapter, we assess why, when, how, and by whom quotas were introduced in Germany and Austria. We illustrate the lack of adequate parliamentary representation with data from national and Land levels and present central gender equality debates within the major ‘quota’ parties (Social Democrats, Greens, and Conservatives) that shaped introduction and enforcement of gender quotas since the 1980s.


Political representation Gender quota design History voluntary party quotas Post-quota gender gap Germany Austria 

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra Ahrens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katja Chmilewski
    • 2
  • Sabine Lang
    • 3
  • Birgit Sauer
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesTampere UniversityTampereFinland
  2. 2.University of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.The Henry M. Jackson School of International StudiesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.University of ViennaViennaAustria

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