How do gender quotas affect public support for women as political leaders

Peter Allen, David Cutts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
448 Downloads (Pure)


Gender quotas have shown themselves to be an effective means of getting more women into political office. Less clear is the broader effect of gender quotas on egalitarian attitudes. This article uses a cross-national dataset of 48 countries worldwide to examine the role of gender quotas in the generation of individual-level attitudes to women as political leaders. Firstly, gender quotas appear to improve perceptions of women’s ability as political leaders in countries where they are present, having controlled for a range of individual-level and contextual influences. Second, this effect differs by sex. For women, the presence of gender quotas alone increases their support for women’s political leadership, something theorised as a ‘vote of confidence’ effect. Thirdly, this effect is not dependent on the type of quota implemented and holds for quotas adopted voluntarily by political parties and those that are brought about via a broader legal change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-168
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number1
Early online date19 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Gender Quotas
  • Women and Politics
  • women and equality
  • elite cues
  • gender equality
  • comparative politics


Dive into the research topics of 'How do gender quotas affect public support for women as political leaders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this