Will legislative gender quotas increase female representation in Ireland? A feminist institutionalism analysis

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Buckley, Fiona
Mariani, Mack
White, Timothy J.
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Informed by insights from feminist institutionalism, this article considers the effect of various aspects of the Irish political system on women’s candidate selection and election, and discusses the extent to which the new gender quota law will be facilitated by these processes. In studying Ireland the article highlights a relatively under-studied case in the comparative literature on gender and politics. It also contributes to the burgeoning field of feminist institutionalism research by examining the mechanisms surrounding female candidate recruitment, selection and election to assess the likely impact of gender quotas on women’s political representation in Ireland. Taking Ireland’s relatively unique PR-STV electoral system as the primary institutional context, we argue that the electoral system interacts with cultural factors to determine female candidacy opportunities and suggest that the biggest challenge to the effective implementation of legislative gender quotas in Ireland are informal mechanisms such as masculinised party cultures, societal gendered legacies and pre-existing informal rules surrounding incumbency and localism. However, we advise if party leaders and selectorates are willing to fully embrace gender quotas and integrate them into their candidate nomination processes, there is evidence to suggest that this will have a positive effect on increasing women’s political representation in Ireland.
Gender quotas , Candidate selection , PR-STV , Ireland
Buckley, F., Mariani, M. and White, T. J. (2014) ‘Will legislative gender quotas increase female representation in Ireland? A feminist institutionalism analysis’, Representation, 50(4), pp. 471-484. doi: 10.1080/00344893.2014.988743
© 2014, McDougall Trust, London. Published by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an item published by Taylor & Francis in Representation on 13 December 2014, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2014.988743