Measuring the Quality of Politicians Elected by Gender Quotas - Are They Any Different?

Peter Allen, David Cutts, Rosie Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Do gender quotas reduce the quality of politicians elected to a legislature? For the first time in the literature, this article addresses this question by examining the quality of ‘quota women’ compared to their non-quota colleagues at three stages of their political career: their electoral performance, their qualifications for political office and their post-election legislative career trajectories. Drawing on the unique case of Britain following the 1997 general election, no significant difference is found between the quality of ‘quota women’ and their non-quota colleagues. Voters do not punish ‘quota women’ at the ballot box; ‘quota women’ are as equally qualified for political office as their colleagues; and the gatekeepers of executive office do not discriminate against ‘quota women’ in front-bench promotions. Considering this, the article concludes by asking whether the similarity of ‘quota women’ to their colleagues may actually impact on their capacity to affect transformative substantive representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-163
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • gender quotas
  • women in politics
  • political representation
  • voting behaviour
  • political careers


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