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

28 Citations (SciVal)


Do gender quotas reduce the quality of politicians elected to a legislature? For the first time in the literature, we address 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, we find no significant difference 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 frontbench promotions. Considering this, we conclude by asking whether the similarity of ‘quota women’ to their colleagues may actually impact their capacity to affect transformative substantive representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-163
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


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


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