Gender Equality from Beneath: Electoral Gender Quotas in Poland

Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Volume 28, Issue 02, August 2013, pp. 151-168

Posted: 23 Aug 2013

See all articles by Adam Bodnar

Adam Bodnar

SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities

Anna Śledzińska-Simon

University of Wroclaw

Date Written: August 21, 2013

Abstract

The article explores the introduction of electoral gender quotas and the unprecedented social mobilization in pursuit of gender equality in Poland. The quota law was adopted as a citizens’ initiative organized by the Congress of Women, a new women’s movement. The article analyzes the factors that account for the success of this initiative, which permanently changed the public debate on gender rights in Poland. In contrast to other countries with legislative gender quotas, the Polish law was the result of bottom-up processes, and it has a strong democratic legitimacy. The law has not significantly influenced the representation of women in the Parliament, yet it significantly mainstreamed the gender perspective in the public debate. Nonetheless, the way in which the quota law has been applied by political parties shows that Polish women in politics are a "minority" devoid of power, and that the prospects for a parity democracy are still remote.

Keywords: gender equality, gender electoral quotas, social movements, Poland

Suggested Citation

Bodnar, Adam and Śledzińska-Simon, Anna, Gender Equality from Beneath: Electoral Gender Quotas in Poland (August 21, 2013). Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Volume 28, Issue 02, August 2013, pp. 151-168, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2313957

Adam Bodnar

SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities ( email )

ul. Chodakowska 19/31
Warsaw, 03-815
Poland

Anna Śledzińska-Simon (Contact Author)

University of Wroclaw ( email )

50-384 Wroclaw
Grunwaldzki 2/4, Lower Silesia Province 50-137
Poland

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