Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Kate Graney


The primary goal of this thesis is to determine the effect of gender quotas in national legislatures on the ability of female legislators to provide substantive representation. The secondary goal of this thesis is to determine which kinds of gender quotas are conducive toward strengthening overall democracies. This study will determine whether any and which kinds of gender quotas allow women parliamentarians to provide substantive representation by measuring the legislation enacted to address women’s issues (namely domestic violence legislation, reproductive rights legislation). This study draws from an accumulation of primary and secondary sources to examine whether parliaments successfully enact legislation to address women’s issues. Through an analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, this thesis determines which gender quota systems are most conducive to substantive representation and which quota systems provide the best results in terms of strengthening democratic systems. I find based on this qualitative data that there is no causation between gender quota implementation and policy outputs that reflect the interests of women. I further find that parliaments are able to pass legislation to address women’s issues, but that legislation is rarely well-implemented because of institutional gender biases and patriarchal systems. Thus, I find that gender quotas of any type do not appear to strengthen democracies – nor do they improve overall gender development. I conclude that gender quotas are a short-term solution that fails to fix a problem (pervasive patriarchal political and social systems) that require larger-scale and longer-term systemic and societal changes.

WALSH_PL 375 Data.xlsx (44 kB)

WALSH_PL 375 Line Graphs.xlsx (34 kB)
Line Graphs