Gender Quotas – A Key to Equality? A Case Study of Iraq and Afghanistan
By Drude Dahkerup and Anja Taarup Nordlund

Many countries of the world use gender quotas in their constitution, electoral laws and party regulations as a tool for furthering women’s participation in the political arena. The formulation of quotas differs from one nation to the other – some are specific to women, others focus on women and men, while some others are gender neutral. In the USA and some parts of Europe, the adoption of quotas has been most controversial because of the seeming contrast with the principles of liberal democracy. Research has shown that the two major gender quota tracks – fast and incremental – have both worked to achieve higher representation for women. However, the incremental track is a longer but steady route to achieving gender equality in politics. Afghanistan and Iraq are post-conflict, traditionally patriarchal and clan-based societies where different groups have been organising around gender justice and making demands for women’s empowerment and gender equality in political as well as other realms.

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