Quotas Get More Women Elected, but Gender Parity Is Still a Long Way Off

Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, speaks to the media after voting at a polling station in Reykjavik, Iceland, Sept. 25, 2021 (AP photo by Arni Torfason).
Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, speaks to the media after voting at a polling station in Reykjavik, Iceland, Sept. 25, 2021 (AP photo by Arni Torfason).

Iceland almost made history at the end of September, when it looked like the country had elected Europe’s first majority-female parliament, with women holding 33 of 63 seats. After a recount, however, the share of seats held by women declined to 30. Still, in a world where the average share of female lawmakers is 25.5 percent, even this degree of parity is an achievement. It might seem especially satisfactory because it was done without any mandatory quotas requiring a certain level of women’s representation in parliament. But three of Iceland’s five largest parties had adopted voluntary gender quotas, which appears to have […]

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