IJARP
SJIF(2020): 5.702

International Journal of Advanced Research and Publications

High Quality Publications & World Wide Indexing!

The Critical Mass Theory And Quota Systems Debate

Volume 1 - Issue 1, July 2017 Edition
[Download Full Paper]

Author(s)
Jeffrey Kurebwa1, Sikhulekile Ndlovu2
Keywords
critical mass, critical structures, critical junctures, proportional representation
Abstract
It has been argued theoretically by many scholars that a critical mass ranging from 30 to 35 percent of women is needed before major changes in legislative institutions, behaviour, policy priorities, and policy voting occurs. During the last decade, the idea of a critical mass has reached fever peach as an explanation for women’s legislative representation and behaviour. The assumption is that once a critical mass of elected women is reached, it will lead to changes in political behaviour, institutions, and public policy that will radically transform legislatures. This idea has gained increasing currency as women have improved their proportion of representation in legislative bodies all over the world. Although the idea of a critical mass is now widely accepted, it has not been subjected to the same theoretical or empirical investigation as many other concepts which are commonly employed in political representation and participation debates. There are two major problems with the concept. The first is that the percentage membership in an institution which women must obtain in order to function as a critical mass is often vague. Is there a single percentage which has universal acceptance, or are there different percentages for different countries? The second problem is that, irrespective of the accepted percentage, there is very little empirical evidence to support such effects.
References
[1]. D.A. Agbalajobi. “Women’s Participation and the Political Process in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects”, African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 4(2): 75-82. 2009.

[2]. K. Celis. “Substantive and Descriptive Representation: Investigating the Impact of the Voting Right and of Descriptive Representation on the Substantive Representation of Women in the Belgian Lower House (1900-1979)”, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, September 2-5. 2004

[3]. S. Childs. “A Feminised style of Politics: Women MPs in the House of Commons,” British Journal of Poli¬tics and International Relations, 6 (1): 3-19. 2004.

[4]. S. Childs and M.L. Krook. “Should Feminists Give Up on Critical Mass? A Contingent ‘Yes’,” Poli¬tics and Gender, 2 (4): 522-530. 2006.

[5]. G. Crawford. “Linking Decentralisation and a Rights-Based Approach: Opportunities and Con-straints in Ghana, Paper presented at the Conference on The Winners and Losers from Rights-Based Ap¬proaches to Development,” University of Manchester, 21-22 February. University of Leeds. 2010.

[6]. D. Dahlerup. “From a Small to a Large Minority in Scandinavian Politics, Scandinavian Political Stud-ies,” 11 (4): 275-299. 1988.

[7]. D. Dahlerup. “Quotas as a ‘Fast Track’ to Equal Political Representation for Women: Why Scandinavia is no longer the Model,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 7 (1): 26-48. 2005.

[8]. J. Drage. “Weaving a New Pattern: Women Political Leaders in Local Government in New Zealand, Wel-lington,” Paper No. 6, Research Monograph Series. 1997.

[9]. European Network of Experts. Women in Decision-making. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, New York. 1997.

[10]. B. Farzana. “Women’s Representation in Politics: The Way Forward” in M. Waseem (ed.), Electoral Reforms in Pakistan, Islamabad. 2002.

[11]. A.M. Goetz and S. Hassim (eds.). No Shortcuts to Power, African Women in Politics and Policy Making, London: Zed Books. 2003.

[12]. Government of Bangladesh. The Local Government Ordinance, 1983 (Ordinance no. L1 of 1983). Dha¬¬ka: Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. 1990.

[13]. T. Gray. “Electoral Gender Quotas: Lessons from Argentina and Chile.” Bulletin of Latin American Re¬¬search 22:52–78. 2003.

[14]. S. Hassim. Rethinking Gender Politics in a Liberal Age: Institutions, Constituencies and Equality in Comparative Perspective, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva, Switzerland. 1990.

[15]. Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Women in National Parliaments: Situation as of 31 August 2000. (www.ipu.org). Accessed 10 November 2016. 2007.

[16]. R. Irwin. “Dancing in the Lion’s Den: Women Leaders in Local Government.” Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Southern Cross University, Australia. 2009.

[17]. R.M. Kanter. “Some Effects of Proportions on Group Life: Skewed Sex Ratios and Responses to To¬ken Women,” American Journal of Sociology, 82(1): 965-990. 1977.

[18]. N.A. Khan. “Towards an understanding of ‘Participation’: The Conceptual Labyrinth Revisited,” Administrative Change, XX (1-2): 106-120. 1993.

[19]. J. Lovenduski. “Gendering Research in Political Science,” American Review of Political Science, (1): 333-56. 1998.

[20]. J. Mansbridge. “Rethinking Representation,” American Political Science Review, 97(4): 515-28. 2003.

[21]. G. Mutume. “Women break into National Politics,” African Recovery 18: 4. 2004.

[22]. P. Norris and J. Lovenduski. Political Recruitment: Gender, Race and Class in the British Parliament. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.1995.

[23]. Ofey-Aboagye, E. Promoting the Participation of Women in Local Governance and Development: The Case of Ghana. Institute of Local Government Studies, Ghana. 2000.

[24]. K.P. Panday. “Representation without Participation: Quotas for Women in Bangladesh,” International Political Science Review, 29: 489. 2008.

[25]. A. Phillips. The Politics of Presence. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1995.

[26]. H. Pitkin. The Concept of Representation. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1967.

[27]. E. Porter. Feminist Perspective on Ethics. Pearson Education Limited: Essex. 1999.

[28]. D. Pottie. Women and Local Government: By the Numbers. Electoral Institute of Southern Africa. Johannesburg. 1999.

[29]. J. Robinson. “Act of Omission: Gender and Local Government in the Transition,” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity, (26): 7-18. 1995.

[30]. I. Shamim. Women in Local Governance: Bangladesh Perspective, Paper presented at the Workshop on Participation of Women in Local Government: Problems and Prospects. Centre for Development Stud¬ies and Action: New Delhi. 1999.

[31]. I. Shamim and M. Nasreen. “Gender and Local Governance: A New Discourse in Development,” The Journal of Social Studies, 94/95: 51-87. 2002.

[32]. E. Shehabuddin. “Contesting the Illicit: Gender and the Politics of Fatwas in Bangladesh,” Journal of Wo¬¬men in Culture and Society, 24 (4):1011-1044. 1999.

[33]. K. Tamerius. “Sex, Gender, and Leadership in the Representation of Women,” in G. Duerst-Lahti and R. M. Kelly (eds.). Gender, Power, Leadership, and Governance. University of Michigan Press: 93-112. 1995.

[34]. United Cities Local Government (UCLG). Participating Women Elected Representatives in the World (www.cities-localgovernments.org/uclg). Accessed 23 November 2016. 2004.

[35]. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Human Development Report. New York: Oxford Uni¬versity Press. 1998.

[36]. UNRISD. Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World. Geneva. 2005.

[37]. J. Vickers. “Towards a Feminist Understanding of Representation,” in J. Arscott and L. Trimble (eds.), In the Presence of Women. Canada: Harcourt Brace. 1997.

[38]. S.L. Weldon. Explaining Cross-National Variation in Government Responsiveness to Violence against Women: Women’s Movements and Political Institutions in Democratic Policymaking. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Pittsburgh. 1999.

[39]. M. Williams. Voice, Trust and Memory: Marginalised Groups and the Failings of Liberal Representation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University. 1998.