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
Date Written: August 21, 2013
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
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