Gender Politics; African Studies; Parliamentary Representation
Background & Qualification
After completing her undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Dar-es-Salaam Veronica worked for Plan Tanzania, the Tanzanian branch of an American NGO, primarily on their gender projects. She has a MA in Peace Studies from Trinity College Dublin, and a MA in International relations from DCU.
The Impact of Gender Quotas on the Substantive Representation of Women in Parliament: A Comparative Case Study of Kenya and Tanzania.
The spread of gender quotas, as an international norm has become the fastest spreading policy strategy aimed at increasing the number of women in parliaments worldwide. As a result of the adoption of quotas there has been a significant increase in the number of women in parliaments, and this has raised questions about the substantive impact of this change, specifically has it led to parliaments be coming women’s friendly institutions and also to more positive policy outcome for women? Doubt have been raised about the capacity of quotas to inevitably produce such beneficial effects, and this is especially true of the types of quota regimes, know as reserve seat systems, adopted by many African states. The parliament of Tanzania is now 36% women, the majority of these women MPs occupy ‘special seats’ reserved for women. In contrast the Kenyan Parliament, which does not have a quota system, is only 9.8% woman. By utilizing a comparative case study of Kenya a country without gender quotas, and Tanzania with gender quotas the thesis analyzing the impact of gender quotas on the status of women politicians and the substantive representation of women’s issues. It does this by comparing the descriptive characteristics, including their parliamentary leadership roles, and the parliamentary contributions of three groups of political actors in the Tanzanian parliament, Women MPs in reserve seats, Women MPs in constituency seats, and Men MPs in constituency seats. In Kenya it compares the descriptive characteristics and parliamentary contributions of Women MPs as Group and Men MPs as group. It asks does the use of reserve seats for women in Tanzania reduce the status of women MPs compared to men MPs and to women MPs in Kenya’s non-quota parliament? Does the increase in the number of women MPs through the use of ‘reserve seat quotas’ increase the substantive representation of women’s interests compared to a non-quota parliament with a smaller number of women MPs?