Institutional Quota Roadblocks on the Federal Level

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


This chapter explains why, contrary to general assumptions, Germany’s mixed electoral system with strong majoritarian elements led to a higher percentage of women in federal parliament over the past 30 years than Austria’s proportional system. In Germany, the proportional element of the electoral system drives the increase in women’s mandates via party lists, whereas the direct district election still privileges men. In Austria, the three-tiered electoral architecture with rather small regional electoral districts and small numbers of electable seats represents a bottom-up cascade that advances more men than women. Finally, the center parties in both countries only reluctantly fortified their quota regulations since the 1980s and appeared particularly blind towards strengthening provisions that would allow for a better fit of party quotas and electoral laws.


Political representation Post-quota gender gap Bundestag Nationalrat Mixed-member proportional system Proportional system Party statutes Quota implementation 

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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