Is Age a Case for Electoral Quotas? Applying A Benchmark for Affirmative Action in Politics
Representation (2016) 52(2-3):149-161 DOI: 10.1080/00344893.2017.1291446
16 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2019
Date Written: July 2016
Is age a suitable case for electoral quotas on the same grounds invoked for women in politics? If affirmative action should not be arbitrarily applied to a few social groups, we must specify the conditions that could serve as a benchmark which a group must pass in order to qualify for its application. Drawing from the literature on women in politics, this article sets up empirical indicators to examine the political under-representation of younger and older age groups: whether the age-related pattern of political under-representation is linked to stereotypes and bias that negatively affect its engagement in politics, and whether these age groups face special issues that give them a unique perspective, which only those who directly experience them can fully advocate in decision-making fora. Affirmative action raises questions about the boundaries of identity, the limits of politics as a vehicle for social change and the meaning of electoral choice.
Keywords: electoral quotas, age, ageism, political representation, young citizens, youth, old age, affirmative action
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