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Colombia Internacionalno. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de los Andes. ABSTRACT: This article seeks to explain why Brazil, despite implementing a gender quotas policy for almost 20 years, has the least of women in national legislatures of all countries in the Americas. It compares key institutional variables, deemed central to explain the success or failure of quotas across Latin American countries. Findings suggest that other, less often explored, variables might help complement the analysis in this field.
In Brazil, a central factor explaining the low percentages of elected women is how electoral funds are managed. En Brasil, un factor clave que explica los bajos porcentajes de mujeres elegidas es la manera como se administran los fondos electorales. Brazil is the country in the Americas with the least of women in legislative positions in the Lower House of the legislature or Chamber of Deputies, as it is known in Brazil.
Brazil was one of the first countries in the Americas to implement such a policy, in However, while the region, at that time, had an average percentage of women in these positions of The considerable Local Brasilia sex women increase seen over this year period is the result of a steady, though uneven growth in the of women elected in different countries, mainly propelled by the implementation of gender quotas.
This threshold is deemed important in the specialized literature, in that it creates a critical mass that should encourage coalition building among women Dahlerup ; Kanter Subsequently, many other countries, including Brazil, established similar policies, with some even moving towards gender parity. Today all countries in Latin America, except for Guatemala and Venezuela, apply gender quotas to national legislative elections. This article will seek to explain this paradox in two ways: first, by discussing the implementation of that policy, the aspects which are needed to make it work, in the opinion of studies of the subject, and what Brazil lacks in that regard.
It will become clear that up to a very recent time, Brazil had a very weak quota policy. In fact, Brazil only implemented the quotas for its national and sub-national chambers in the elections of However, despite a considerable increase in the of women candidates, the percentage who were elected remained the same. This suggests that other factors are more crucial than the percentage of female candidates in determining the of women elected in Local Brasilia sex women law-making bodies of Brazil. Second, this article will explain how the political system works in Brazil, emphasizing singularities of its electoral system and in, particular, how the laws on campaign finance and the behavior of donors have limited the possibilities of women candidates.
This article will argue that the political engineering of Brazil, in particular its electoral system and rules on campaign finance is key in explaining why the presence of women in political decision-making positions is lower even than that of countries without quotas. Proportional Representation PR with preferential voting, together with unrestrained campaign finance have resulted in candidates running in elections with ificantly unequal amounts of financial resources, negatively affecting the electoral performance of women.
One of the greatest defects of democracies and representative systems around the world has to do with the participation of women. Although the discrimination against women is no longer explained at least not openly as a natural phenomenon, justified by an innate inability for rational thinking that makes them unfit for public life, as used to be the case among traditional political thinkers, 2 the small percentage of women in government today is an indication of intentional or involuntary obstacles that require deliberate action if they are to be overcome. Among these, gender quotas have been the mechanism that is most widely used.
On a world level, the average percentage of women members of parliaments both houses combined is There are no ificant differences between percentages in Lower and Upper Houses The Beijing Platform for Action recommended that governments, political parties and multilateral organizations take affirmative actions to ensure a fairer balance between genders and give a stronger voice to women in politics, which, in turn, encouraged women activists to pressure the political parties and parliaments of their respective countries to adopt that policy.
Since then, the of countries adopting this measure has ificantly grown and today there are countries that implement some sort of gender quotas in legislative elections International IDEA Today, only Guatemala and Venezuela do not use such measures. Quotas have been a key to the ificant rise in the s of women elected to the national parliaments of Latin America recently. At Yet, comparatively, it represents an important step forward compared to the situation 20 years ago, when fewer countries had such quotas and the average was only They have not been uniform across the region and some countries, like Brazil, continue to lag behind, while others have steadily progressed and even stand out on an international level: Bolivia, Local Brasilia sex women example, where See table 3.
In other words, the higher the quota, the more the women who are elected. However, this is not necessarily the case, as a of other factors besides the size of quotas influence electoral outcomes. The specialized literature considers that besides its size, other factors directly related to this policy, and that interfere with its outcomes are enforcement mechanisms and placement mandates Dahlerup and Freidenvall ; Htun and Jones ; Jones ; Krook ; Matland ; Schwindt-Bayer However, there are different strategies which parties can use to avoid compliance with quotas that, if successful, will jeopardize its main purpose.
In that regard, legal safeguards are needed to secure that objective. Local Brasilia sex women is a placement mandate, which requires parties to rank male and female candidates on their list in accordance with the quotas. What is the point of a high quota percentage if parties then nominate women for seats they are unlikely to win?
Without the mandate, women are likely to be lower down on the lists with a smaller chance of being elected, as often happened in Latin America. Brazil is a good example of how a weak regulation of political parties may make the quota ineffective. However, the parties did not start to follow this rule in local elections until and in national ones until Loopholes in the legislation and the absence of meaningful sanctions for its violation led to widespread non-compliance.
Quotas were first implemented in Brazil under Law 9. InLaw 9. Once again, in the following elections and onwardsthe parties ignored the spirit of the law and were not sanctioned. It is only recently that they have been forced to comply with the law. The law also allowed for an increase in the total up to twice the of seats in the legislature.
InLaw Thus, the parties had no option but to implement the quotas. The table below provides data on four national and state elections two of them prior to changes in the quota law. The data in Table 1 show that compliance with the quotas in led to a ificant rise in the percentage of women chosen as candidates for state and federal deputies.
In contrast with others countries in the region, quotas have not been an effective mechanism for getting more women elected to representative bodies in Brazil. In fact, if we compare the percentage of women candidates elected in the last elections with the percentage of ones, we cannot help concluding that things have got worse over time. When we look at the odds ratio -a statistical measure that compares the of candidates to the s who are elected- we see that, for state deputies, it fell from 0.
For federal deputies, it fell from 0.
In that regard, a parity between women and men with regard to the chances of election odds ratio equal or superior to 1 was only achieved in the period before the adoption of quotas, when the percentage of women in parliament was only 6. The steady fall in the odds ratio between and indicates that the political representation of women has worsened over time.
Thus, contrary to what common sense may tell us and international and regional trends, the chances of women being Local Brasilia sex women Brazil for women are shrinking rather than expanding with the quotas. Although they are important for other purposes Sacchetthe quotas in Brazil have not help increase the participation of women in parliamentary politics, which suggests that the real problem lies elsewhere.
As studies of the subject have indicated, when assessing the effectiveness of such quotas we have to take into not only the three key aspects of the quotas themselves -size the stipulated percentagea placement mandate or lack of one and a weak or strong enforcement of the law- but also the institutional framework in which they are implemented.
That is, the success of quotas for women in Latin America has varied in accordance with institutional factors which are not always related to the laws on quotas themselves. One of them is the electoral system Norris ; Rule ; Schwindt-Bayer ; among many others and another, which is less discussed, the rules for financing campaigns.
A candidate needs money to win an election, but such funding is not always available to women, at least in amounts that would level the playing field. The electoral system is a key variable when analyzing electoral processes.
Among other functions, the electoral system sets the rules that organize elections and defines how the votes won by parties, coalitions and candidates will be converted into seats. It thus strongly influences the behavior of parties and electoral outcomes. Majority, proportional or mixed electoral systems have specificities which, in different ways, influence the electoral arrangements and strategies followed by political parties, and shaping of political representation. The Proportional Representation System PR is able to secure a more pluralistic composition of political legislatures, because it roughly turns winning votes won into parliamentary seats.
This is in contrast to the majority system, in which the winner takes all seats. PR, therefore, allows for a better distribution of parliamentary seats among different political groups, parties or coalitions. In terms of strengthening the representation of women and minority groups, PR is considered preferable because it creates incentives for parties to present a more balanced ticket.
PR involves larger district magnitudes, which lead to higher party magnitudes, or a greater of seats available for parties in a parliament, which, in turn, affects their strategy for choosing candidates Norris ; Matland ; Rule Therefore, in theory, the countries whose elections follow the majority system should have fewer women in their legislatures.
Since the mixed system combines elements of both systems, the countries that use it should have fewer women than the ones which use PR, but more than those with majority systems. Academic studies have confirmed a propensity for PR to return more seats for women and minority groups than majority or mixed systems Lijphart ; Mansbridge ; Matland ; Matland and Studlar ; Norris; Reynolds ; Moser In countries with mixed systems, women ed for Recent data I gathered from the Inter-parliamentary Union database, shown in graph 1 below, indicate Local Brasilia sex women the differences remain the same today, even if the extent of the difference is no longer so marked.
Studies of Latin America have confirmed that the electoral system plays a central role in the successful candidacies of women and, in turn, is in agreement with studies on a world level. However, they have found that not all PR systems are equally women-friendly. In terms of electing women, PR works best when it is linked to closed-candidate lists Baldez ; Htun and Jones ; Htun and Piscopo ; Jones Jones reported a considerable variation in the electoral of women in Latin American countries which used PR. This suggests that in order to understand the electoral performance of women it is necessary to look beyond the type of electoral system, and examine the model of electoral lists.
At the current time see table 314 out 18 countries in Latin America use PR, and of these only one does not employ gender Local Brasilia sex women, yet there are considerable differences in the percentage of women in their parliaments. Therefore, they provide good case studies of the way in which the electoral system affects the election of women to parliaments.
Table 2 below provides an up to date snapshot of countries in Latin America, in relation to the key variables mentioned above for the electoral performance of women. The data include: the of women in legislatures of the lower house, or unicameral system only ; the type of electoral system and type of lists it operates; the percentage of quotas if any ; whether or not there is a placement mandate for women and men; and finally, the existence of a weak or strong enforcement of quotas.
Because the cases are relatively few only 18the statistical analysis is limited to establishing which of these variables are the most influential. However, the data lends itself to a useful descriptive comparative analysis of the current state of affairs.
Changes made by the electoral law strengthened this policy, making it impossible for political parties to register their electoral slates unless they complied with quotas. The first national and state level elections to observe this rule were held in Of the 18 countries in Table 2nine employ a closed-list PR, five use an open-list PR, and four have mixed electoral systems.
Only two -Guatemala and Venezuela- do not employ gender quotas. A straightforward comparative analysis on the percentages of women in Lower House positions in these countries -again, within the abovementioned statistical limits- allows us to make some inferences concerning the role of quotas and the electoral system. First, the central role played by quotas is evident. Graph 3. Data analyzed and organized in graph by the author. The Countries with mixed electoral systems stand out as they have the highest average percentage of women in elected positions. The leading position of countries with mixed electoral systems counters findings from studies, which showed that the closed list PR system was more likely to elect more women.
Interestingly, all of these countries have recently adopted a gender parity system for legislative candidates Bolivia and Panama in and Mexico in Yet the in Panama have been far less satisfactory than in the other two. As seen earlier, the mixed electoral system combines the features of both the PR and Majority systems; thus, it uses through both multi-member and single-member districts. Conventional understanding suggests that fewer electoral positions should favor male candidates. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that countries with mixed electoral systems will elect less women than countries with PR, where all the districts are multi-member.
Following the same rationale, gender quotas should work less effectively in countries with mixed systems, for it is unlikely that political parties will apply this policy in single member districts, given their expected preference for male candidates. In this case, compliance with quotas is only likely to succeed if Local Brasilia sex women electoral rules ensure that the Local Brasilia sex women will also apply to single member districts. This is what happens in Bolivia. In fact, parity in participation between women and men is secured by the constitution in relation to all positions of authority be it of the legislative, executive or judiciary power Venturini and Villela On the other hand, the quota regulations and enforcement mechanisms in Panama are weak.
Furthermore, the law only covers the nomination lists in the primaries of parties International IDEAwhich means that a balanced ticket is uncertain even in multi-member districts, and the policy is far less effective in Panama than in Bolivia.Local Brasilia sex women
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