Quotas for women are provided to ensure that a minimum number of women attain appointments in a parliamentary assembly, a committee, a government, and/or inclusion in candidates lists. The quota system places the burden of recruitment not on the individual woman but on those who control the recruitment process.

Quotas for women represent a development of the concept of equality. The classic liberal notion of equality was that of “equal opportunity” or “competitive equality.” Removing formal barriers was considered sufficient. Feminist pressure during the last few decades (as expressed, for instance, in the Beijing “Platform for Action” of 1995), an additional concept of equality is gaining ground and support: the notion of “equality of result.” Quotas and other forms of positive measures are thus ...

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