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Title: The role of international organizations in the adoption of gender quotas: Afghanistan and Iraq as case studies
Authors: Demirdöğen, Ülkü
Keywords: Afghanistan
Gender Quotas
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Uludağ Üniversitesi
Citation: Demirdöğen, Ü. (2014). "The role of international organizations in the adoption of gender quotas: Afghanistan and Iraq as case studies". International Journal of Social Inquiry, 7(1), 1-23.
Abstract: Recent literature has improved our understanding of quota adoption; we no longer focus only on domestic factors but also take into consideration the role of international organizations (both as IGOs and NGOs) when analyzing the causes and dynamics underlying the adoption of gender quotas. International norms and transnational sharing are important factors shaping national quota debates (Krook, 2006). It is remarkable that “the timing of quota proposals is clearly clustered around certain years” suggesting that gender quotas have been adopted following the recommendations issued by international organizations, namely the United Nations (Krook 2006, p.311). The gender policies by date of adoption and quota type globally [Table 1] demonstrate a pattern: after several decades of stagnation, the number of countries which have adopted quotas increased slightly over the course of the 1980s and then jumped dramatically during the 1990s and 2000s (Ibid). This sudden jump in the number of countries that have adopted gender quotas in the last several decades supports the observation that the origins of these shifts in gender policies can be located in international organizations’ decisions/documents aiming the improvement of women’s political representation. The most important of these documents are the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), adopted by the United Nations in 1979, and the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA), approved in 1995. CEDAW entered into force in 1981 and has ben ratified by 187 countries. Ratification of CEDAW, becoming signatories to various platforms of action and other regional conventions constitute a set of norms and rules related to gender equality. International organizations have an important role in shaping, defining and diffusing norms. The concern with international norms has developed most prominently in the field of international organization. Norms in the framework of regime theory are important in setting the expectations and, therefore, the behaviour of states (Young, 1989; Krasner, 1983). There is a significant literature on the role of international organizations in norm development (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998; Goertz & Diehl, 1992). Apart from the United Nations, other international organizations have issued recommendations that involve gender equality and quotas for women, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Socialist International, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the African Union, and the Organization of American States among others, and have been influential in creating a gender equality regime. Gender quotas can be viewed as features of modern statehood since 1980s. The world polity theory of Meyer and colleagues state that “many features of the contemporary nation state derive from worldwide models constructed and propagated through global cultural and associational processes” (Meyer & Prügl, 1999). International organizations play a key role in spreading models for legitimate action or norms. The rapid increase in the number of countries which have adopted gender quotas in the 1990s and 2000s can be explained by their integration into the world polity by ratifying the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other recommendations promoting gender equality and gender quotas. Another indicator of a country’s world polity ties could be the increase in the number of women’s INGOs which provide organizational and informational resources for domestic activists since the 1980s.
ISSN: 1307-8364
Appears in Collections:2014 Cilt 7 Sayı 1

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