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In Support of Gender Quotas: Setting New Standards, Bringing Visible Gains

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2006

Miki Caul Kittilson
Arizona State University


Are gender quotas a good idea? Yes, for two reasons: Quotas are an effective mechanism for improving women's numerical representation, and they encourage new attitudes towards women in politics. I argue that the numerical and ideational gains brought by gender quotas outweigh the potential pitfalls they might introduce. From a pragmatic standpoint, quotas constitute an imperfect means to a positive end: women's political empowerment. What is more, formal rules may become norms, reinforcing changing attitudes.I would like to thank Marilyn Dantico, Kim Fridkin, Adrian Pantoja, Becki Scola, and the editors of Politics & Gender for their constructive comments on this essay.

© 2005 The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association

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