The Impact of Electoral Systems on Women’s Political Representation

  • Tracy-Ann Johnson-MyersEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Political Science book series (BRIEFSPOLITICAL)


This chapter raises and answers several important questions about the effects of electoral systems on women. There is a general consensus in the literature on political representation that countries applying a proportional representation (PR) system have a higher number of women in their national parliaments than those with single-member, first-past-the-post systems. This is primarily because parties can be encouraged to craft a balanced party list, reflecting the wide range of interests, social and demographical make-up of the wider society. While it is evident in the literature on electoral systems and representation that women are better represented numerically under ‘pure’ PR systems, more recently, countries seeking electoral reform have turned to mixed or hybrid electoral systems. Mixed electoral systems which have become popular over the past few decades are similar to other forms of PR systems in that the overall total of party members in the elected body is intended to mirror the overall proportion of votes received. The difference lies in the way by which they include a set of members elected by geographic constituency and who are deducted from the party totals so as to maintain an overall proportionality. As a proportional representation system, the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) ensures that voters’ party preferences are proportionally reflected in the party composition of parliament.


Electoral System Proportional Representation Female Candidate National Parliament African National Congress 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the West IndiesKingstonJamaica

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