The authors in this special issue on Democratization and Gender Quotas in Africa are in various ways exploring the long-term effects of processes of gendering political institutions through quota adoption. The collection of articles investigate how gender quota institutions affect the descriptive, substantive, and to some extent, symbolic representation of women across different regimes in Africa. While gender quotas are found in all types of regimes, the concepts used for analyzing women’s quotas are intrinsically embedded in the democracy discourse. The aim of this special issue is to bring together a set of cross-national authors and cases to explore the use of quotas as a phenomenon in itself and not necessarily as an attribute of democracy. The articles cover different regime types and various kinds of quotas, but a common denominator is that they hold multiparty elections on a regular basis. All contributions are engaged with investigating the positive and negative dynamics of quotas, implementation processes, and sustainable effects in African legislatures. One key concern addressed is the vulnerability of women’s descriptive and substantive representation in post-transitional regimes and added to that to which extent such representation is sustainable in non-democratic settings. A democratic dispensation in many ways could be considered critical for the sustainability of women’s political representation. In short, if pro-women gains are associated with hegemonic rulers, how sustainable are they in the face of a change in power?

Vibeke Wang

Senior Researcher and Coordinator: Gender Politics