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Affirmative action useless? : a thesis concerning women in politics in the U.K. and France

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Affirmative action useless? : a thesis concerning women in politics in the U.K. and France

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

Throughout the years women in most countries were granted the same political rights as men. Namely, the right to vote and the right to stand for election. However, this did not automatically lead to equal participation in political decision making. It is remarkable to see that this, even though women both have the right to vote and the right to stand for election, has not resulted in the equal representation of men and women in political decision making. Today, women are still under-represented in several national Parliaments. Women hold worldwide less than 19 percent of the parliamentary seats. This thesis primarily looks at women in Parliament in both the United Kingdom and France concerning affirmative action and in particular the electoral gender quotas. Both countries use affirmative action in different ways. In the United Kingdom the implementation of affirmative action for political parties through electoral gender quotas is optional, not obligated. However, in France this is not the case, political parties are by law obliged to the application of electoral gender quotas. This thesis describes whether affirmative action and, in particular, electoral gender quotas lead to more women in Parliament, the central question of this thesis is:
Does affirmative action lead to more women in Parliament?
International evidence reveals that the only method to a major increase in the number of women in Parliament is through the application of affirmative action methods. Affirmative action and, in particular, electoral gender quotas have indeed lead to more women in Parliament. What we have seen in France and the United Kingdom is that the electoral gender quota policy is mainly used by the left-wing parties: in France the Socialist party and in the United Kingdom the Labour Party. To conclude does affirmative action lead to more women in politics? On the one hand it seems that with the first elections after the implementation of the electoral gender quota, the number of women increases and with the next election this number decreases again. In the United Kingdom this took place at the General Election of 2001. The percentage of women in the House of Commons decreased from 18.2 percent to 17.9 percent. Thus it seems like that the electoral gender quotas only works for one election. Moreover, in France electoral gender quotas are obliged by law and financial sanctions follow if political parties do not act in accordance. However, parties prefer to pay the fine rather than having an equal share of male and female candidates on their lists. On the other hand, it is clear that in France as well as in the United Kingdom, after the implementation of the electoral gender quotas more women are elected, although this is still not enough to reach a gender-equality. The next question is, why does affirmative action not lead to more women in Parliament? And, will women ever reach a gender-equality in Parliament? In addition, research needs to be done on how the number of women in Parliament could be increased. The answers to these questions may lead to more different methods and views concerning gender- equality in Parliament.

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingESC Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2009
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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