Tanzania and Uganda are among the most cited countries employing reserved-seat quotas. They adopted these quotas in 1985 and 1989, respectively. However, the two countries use different mechanisms to recruit reserved-seat members of parliament (MPs). Drawing on interview data from Tanzania and Uganda, this study compares the two models in terms of their effectiveness in facilitating the transfer of female MPs to non-quota seats in subsequent elections, thereby furthering women's sustainable representation. We find that the Tanzanian model is superior because it compartmentalises quota MPs in reserved seats less than the Ugandan model. The Ugandan model creates a gendered perception that constituency seats are for males and quota seats are for females – as if each sex has a distinct category of parliamentary seats. This perception affects each step of the switch to a non-quota seat, from the decision to switch to party nominations to voters’ decisions at the polls.