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A Gender Agenda: the effectiveness of quota systems in increasing women’s meaningful participation in politics

Published 23 Nov 2014

By Claire Bennett

Over the last century, catalysed by international social rights and equality movements, the recognition of women as valuable and viable political forces has gathered momentum, culminating in the creation of UN Millennium Development Goal 3, to “promote gender equality and empower women”.[1] However, progress on this front been slow – only two out of one hundred and thirty countries with available data have reached gender parity at all levels of education.[2] Furthermore, as of 2012, the global share of women in parliament has only reached 21.8 per cent[3] – a statistic that, with the exception of 2007, has demonstrated an annual rate of increase of just 0.5 percentage points in recent years.[4] Given the impending shift towards a post-2015 Millennium Development Agenda, this year represents a critical time for reflection on the effectiveness of strategies employed at a global, regional and national level to empower women in the political sphere.

This paper will consider the effectiveness of the recent phenomenon of gender quotas as a tool for increasing female political representation and meaningful engagement. It will draw particularly on trends demonstrated in the cases of Kenya and Australia to argue that while gender quotas represent an important tool for increasing female representation in government, they are constrained by a focus on quantitative outcomes. Despite widespread consensus that quota systems are optimally effective when coupled with initiatives that also address qualitative benefits for women,[5] the formulation of specific initiatives to actively foster this balance represents a major challenge in policy development. This paper will propose two avenues for reform. First, the development of distinct education units at a high school level, tailored to equipping women with the leadership and civic skills required to make an informed contribution to policy debate and, second, the development of a Parliamentary Code of Conduct to address the belligerent culture associated with political decision-making and to promote values associated with traditionally ‘feminine’ reasoning, such as dialogue and negotiation.

The development of gender quotas as a mechanism for promoting female political engagement and representation has gathered international momentum over the last few decades as “one of the most effective strategies for increasing the number of women in parliament” by promoting a “level playing field between men and women in political life.”[6] This paper, drawing on the work of scholar Mona Lena Krook, conceptualises gender quotas as including reserved seats, political party quotas and legislative quotas,[7] constituting a “form of affirmative action or equal opportunity designed to address the slow pace of change in the participation of women and minority groups in areas of society where they are historically underrepresented.”[8]

The paper will conduct a critical examination of the evidence and theory surrounding gender quotas, particularly in the contexts of Kenya and Australia, and argue that quotas do have an important role to play in “bringing women’s voices into systems where they are otherwise excluded, short-cutting a process that can naturally take generations.”[9] However, it will also be noted that quotas are fundamentally constrained by a focus on quantitative outcomes and, thus, insufficient as a comprehensive affirmative action policy.[10] To ensure tangible and comprehensive empowerment of women in politics, quota systems must be accompanied by initiatives that also address barriers of a qualitative nature. Given the impending shift towards a post-2015 Millennium Development Agenda, this year represents a critical time for reflection on the effectiveness of strategies employed at a global, regional and national level to empower women in the political sphere. This paper will consider two potential avenues for reform: first, the development of distinct education units at high school and tertiary level aimed at equipping women with the leadership and civic skills required to make an meaningful contribution to policy debate and, second, the development of a Parliamentary Code of Conduct, aimed at counterbalancing the adversarial nature of contemporary politics through promotion of values traditionally associated with ‘feminine’ reasoning such as constructive dialogue and negotiation.

The rationale for quotas

Gender quotas have achieved international recognition as a viable source of affirmative action, and are now embedded in the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 1979, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995, which specifically outlined an objective relating to “women in decision making” and at ‘Beijing +5’ – a special sitting of the UN General Assembly in 2000, which introduced the resolution on Women, Peace and Security.[11] This international profile has gained leverage from the statistical evidence accumulated over the course of the last decade, suggesting that such systems do demonstrably increase the number of females participating in parliamentary processes.[12] Approximately half of the world’s countries currently have some form of electoral gender quota system.[13] In 2012, “electoral quotas were used in 22 countries holding elections [and] with legislated quotas, women took 24 per cent of seats and with voluntary quotas they gained 22 per cent. When no quotas were used, women took 12 per cent of seats.” Also significant is the fact that “nine out of the top ten countries which witnessed the highest growth in the number of women MPs in their lower house of parliament had used quotas.”[14]

This said, the rate of increase has been negligible. As of 2012, the global share of women in parliament had only reached 21.8 per cent[15] ­– a statistic that, with the exception of 2007, has demonstrated an annual rate of increase of just 0.5 percentage points in recent years. Recent data also suggests that, regrettably, the global average has fallen in the last year to 20.9 per cent (July 2013).[16] These ratios are far short of the ‘critical minority’ of 30 per cent deemed necessary for women to influence decision-making, cited by the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs in 2005[17] and “at the current rate, the UN Millennium Development Goal of gender equality is likely to take another half a century to achieve.”[18]

Aside from numerical outcomes, theoretical arguments concerning equality, rights and democracy also form a motif in academic literature as justification for gender quotas. It is generally accepted that a socially inclusive society constitutes a fundamental principle of democratic governance and as such, women are entitled to equal citizenship and full political participation as a fulfilment of their human rights. The Director of the Democratic Governance Group of the United Nations Development Program has conceptualised quota systems as a “developmental issue” and “moral obligation”, through the promotion of “more inclusive parliaments” to “strengthen civic engagement and democratic participation among citizens.”[19]

Empirical data demonstrating the beneficial results of female involvement in policy development is, predictably, difficult to source due to the relativity of measureable outcomes (what constitutes a policy ‘success’? How does one attribute these successes specifically to the influence of female representatives?) This said, several academic studies have emerged that suggest the mediation skills women bring to political dialogue have a clear benefit for sustainable development. Klein analyses the Kenyan peace process of 2007-8 as “an example of the benefits of involving women in international peace mediations.” The Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation was established in 2008 in the wake of a period of intense electoral violence. After 42 days of concentrated negotiations, a power sharing agreement was concluded which “dealt with long term issues that were at the root of the conflict.”[20] Klein notes that the negotiating team involved a high number and profile of women (over 25 per cent) at a local and national level. This had a major impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the dispute resolution process, Klein argues, particularly in instigating a highly influential session involving “women from all different party affiliations and ethnic tensions,” for the purpose of “rais[ing] all the issues that divided them” and building “trust and confidence in each other” through the identification of common issues affecting the crisis. The strong network that women possessed locally, nationally and internationally was a major advantage in garnering momentum and ensuring sustainability of the process – “Kenyan women were amongst the first to lobby the African Union, to testify to the US Congress and to pass messages of peace, international help and fundamental concerns” to high level officials. Finally, Klein notes, women proved more adept than their male counterparts at identifying early warning signs for conflict through increased sensitivity to “indicators such as refugee migration, rape, abductions, trafficking, and hoarding of goods.”[21]

Criticisms of gender quotas

Prevailing critique of gender quotas also canvasses a wide range of theoretical and practical considerations. A pervasive criticism of quota systems is that they undermine the principle of merit and, consequently, leave organisations at a competitive disadvantage. [22] The principle of merit is an “important concept underpinning many public service practices in liberal democracies such as the United States and Australia”[23] and requires that decisions relating to employment be “based solely on relative ability, knowledge and skills after fair and open competition which assures that all receive equal opportunity.”[24] But as argued by Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, merit and quota considerations are not inherently contradictory – the merit system is “intended to eliminate favouritism, nepotism and bias and sexism” and similarly, “quota law has played a pivotal role in making women’s talent and experience visible.” Quota systems, Commissioner Broderick suggests, represent an “expression of equality, rather than an exception to it.”[25]

The overwhelming school of academic literature, however, treads a via media when critiquing gender quotas, suggesting that to have maximum benefit, quotas must be comprehensively designed to target all gendered institutions relevant to the political process – not just at a representative level. Academic Mona Krook identifies three categories of gendered institutions: systemic, practical and normative, which act at different levels of the candidate selection process.[26] Of crucial importance, she argues, is the promotion of quota systems that address the gender inequality in more informal settings, such as initial rounds of candidate selection. She argues that when gender quotas specific to each gendered institution are implemented in a “cumulative and cohesive way”, a state will experience a “harmonising sequence” where quotas have a substantive, positive impact.[27] The United Nations Millennium Development Goal Progress Report 2013 similarly states that quotas themselves are insufficient, unless accompanied by “sanctions for non-compliance”, “candidates placed in winnable positions on party lists” and party support.[28]

While a more comprehensive and targeted approach to female political involvement is warranted, this author does not agree that additional quota systems are the best way to maximise female empowerment. Quota systems are, as outlined earlier, inherently concerned with quantitative gains – fostering female involvement through increased physical ratios. In order to maximise the potential for women to make a meaningful contribution to the political sphere, this author argues that existing qualitative barriers to female engagement must also be identified and addressed. Verge and de la Fuente characterise this point by highlighting the distinction between “rules in form” and “rules in use,” the latter of which may actually leave power relationships intact and do little to address the “production and reproduction of gender effects” and “institutional sexist” culture in politics.[29]

The case of Kenya and regional Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya is still notably behind in women’s political representation in the African region at just 9.8 per cent, compared to Rwanda’s 56.3 per cent, South Africa’s 42.3 per cent, Tanzania’s 36 per cent and Uganda’s 35 per cent.[30] The implementation of a new Kenyan Constitution and Bill of Rights in 2010, however, has been a major step forward in rectifying legislative barriers to equal representation. The constitution incorporates an entrenched quota of at least one-third female representation in elective and appointive positions and that one of two senators representing youth and disability issues must be female.[31] More generally, section 27(3) of the constitution codifies the right of “women and men to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres” and section 100(a) mandates that Parliament shall enact legislation “to promote the representation in Parliament of women.”

The above constitutional measures are clearly still in relatively infancy and thus, evidence and scholarship on their effectiveness in promoting equality and opportunity for Kenyan women is limited. However, it appears that “continuing and fierce resistance to democratising political rules of engagement to facilitate the equitable and fair participation and representation of both genders” is still pervasive.[32] The ratio provided for in the Constitution has radically altered “the existing political rules of engagement” and potentially compromise the “vested power interests of current male power holders.” As such, there is considerable opposition and debate surrounding the implementation of formal mechanisms to implement these gender ratios through further affirmative action strategies. Professor Maria Nzomo has stated that “even with the utmost commitment from gender and democracy champions, effective political representation through gender quotas and the advancement of a democratic agenda may be limited without structural reform” and the support of key political parties.[33]

The case of Australia

Despite the vast bilateral disparity in context, culture and developmental status, Australia too has a relatively poor rate of female political representation, comprising just 30.1 per cent of all parliamentarians.[34] Regionally, the average number of women in the Pacific participating in Parliament is a mere 15.9 per cent, compared with the Americas, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa who all record statistics over 20 per cent.[35]  Without taking into account Australia and New Zealand, the regional average would be just 3 per cent.[36]

Currently in Australia, although there are no legislatively or constitutionally entrenched gender quotas, many companies and several political parties have adopted voluntary targets. The Australian Labor Party has a long association with gender quotas commencing with the Affirmative Action Rule in 1994 and, since 2012, has implemented a party constitutional quota whereby a minimum of 40 per cent of positions shall be held by men and women respectively, with “the remaining 20 per cent to be filled by candidates of either sex.”[37] Importantly, a failure to meet such voluntary targets “has no consequences except potentially reputational damage.”[38] However, the consistently high compliance rate within the ALP suggests that this fact does not result in “widespread complacency among parties,”[39] but rather promotes accountability and catalyses reform.

The Australian Liberal National Coalition currently does not formally support gender quotas on the basis that they compromise the selection of political candidates based on merit. Though the Liberal party has attempted to implement support structures to encourage women to apply for preselection, consistently low female representation has prompted criticism from within the party, with former senator the Hon. Judith Troeth reasoning that “if it’s demeaning for women to have quotas, it’s equally demeaning to sit in a Parliamentary party room for 20 years without seeing a progressive increase in the number of women members.”[40]

A comprehensive approach

It appears incontrovertible that gender quotas do effectively address quantitative barriers to female political participation through increased representation. However, it is the contention of this paper that they do not effectively address the significant issue of qualitative outcomes for women. As such, quotas achieve optimum effectiveness when supported by additional, synchronous initiatives operating to ensure numerical progress is reinforced by cultural reform. The final section of this paper will propose two general areas for reform targeting, first, the culture within political organisations and second, secondary and tertiary education sectors.

Political culture

Commissioner Broderick rightly notes that “most discrimination that exists today is not overt. It is built into the systems, cultures and institutions that exist in Australia… often the result of unconscious bias that relies on our inbuilt gender schemas and develops as a shorthand way of helping us understand the world.”[41] A crucial barrier to fostering the comprehensive empowerment of women in government is the proliferation of a belligerent and combative culture contingent on a style of discourse that is traditionally less accessible to the traditionally feminine preference for dialogue and negotiation models of dispute resolution. While this is a generalisation, there is considerable scientific evidence to suggest that women naturally tend toward intuitive and empathetic forms of reasoning, while males “tend to outperform perform women in special tasks and motor skills.”[42] The adversarial nature of political debate serves as a double-edged sword in constraining female engagement in politics by, first, acting as an initial deterrent for women in considering a career in political life and, second, by limiting their capacity to engage fully in political processes once elected. Rather than requiring women to “learn the rules of the game and adapt,”[43] as has been suggested by some commentators, it is the adversarial nature of the ‘game’ itself that requires reform to ensure women are able to comfortably and meaningfully engage in political life. Political parties are particularly important targets for reform as the ‘gatekeepers’ to political office courtesy of their role in the candidate selection process and “perhaps the most strategic responsibility in a democracy.”[44]

Comparative analysis of political parties in Catalonia, Spain, undertaken by Verge and de la Fuente, provides valuable insight into the limitations of quota systems in addressing cultural bias within parties themselves. In interviews conducted amongst female focus groups selected from within political parties, participants emphasised the expectation “to speak and behave assertively and aggressively for party or public office” and that, despite many female politicians feeling uncomfortable with this model, “alternative ways of doing politics are despised as ‘weak, fragile and vulnerable’” – “if you don’t give orders by thumping the table with your fist, you don’t show you’re in command.” Feelings of fear, constant insecurity and “of being out of place” emerged as commonly cited constraints on women’s agency in political organisations.[45]

One means of addressing the current political dynamic would be the development and implementation of a code of conduct for Commonwealth parliamentarians. This is not a new recommendation. In fact, discussion of the value in a code of conduct can be traced back to a research paper of the Politics and Public Administration Group published in 1998 in response to widespread disillusionment amongst the Australian public with the conduct of parliamentarians. The report aimed not to control the behaviour of parliamentarians, but rather, set public standards by which the behaviour of parliamentarians could be assessed and provide an agreed foundation for responding to unacceptable behaviour.[46] The report advised that, for optimum effectiveness, the code be clearly communicated to the community and contain not merely aspirational provisions, but clear guidelines, injunctions, prescriptions and prohibitions.[47]

The existing standing orders for the conduct of question time in Australian parliament contain provisions designed to restrain questioners from “introducing or inviting argument” and, as such, are primarily concerned with facilitating procedural efficiency, rather than moderating the content or presentation of the rhetoric itself – a job is left to the discretion of the Speaker of the House.[48] Given the recent controversy surrounding conduct by ministers including the (allegedly unintentional) use of personal insults[49] and expletives,[50] the time appears ripe for a comprehensive reengagement with this proposal. The format, specific provisions and enforcement mechanisms inherent in the proposed code are questions that require careful consideration from a focus group or committee commissioned by the Australian government, following thorough investigation into the existence of formal and informal gender discrimination within Australian political institutions. The incorporation of specific provisions aimed at redressing the confrontational culture of political debate and fostering negotiation-based forms of dispute resolution will be crucial.

Education and leadership training

It is an academic, political and humanitarian mantra that education represents the key to human development and economic growth through the promotion of “national productivity, innovation and values of democracy and social cohesion.”[51] This paper would add that targeted education programs are an essential addition to the introduction of gender quotas, to ensure increased political representation translates into qualitative positive outcomes for women. To ensure optimal effectiveness of quota systems, education initiatives require a three-pronged approach.

First, there must be a proliferation of civic education and leadership opportunities at a secondary and tertiary level for female students, to equip students with the tools required to contest elective positions and make a meaningful contribution to policy development. Currently in Kenya there are encouraging steps at both a community and government level to promote civic education. The URAIA Trust was established in 2011 as the successor to Kenya’s National Civic Education Program Phase I and II, with the support of the United Nations Development Program. URAIA programs are designed to fulfil the goals and priorities articulated in the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 – that is, “national reconciliation, inclusion of youth and marginalised groups and increased leadership accountability.”[52] To date, URAIA has supported over 50 civil society organisations nationally with civic education and engagement activities. In 2012, URAIA coordinated a joint initiative with partners Usawa and Amkeni Wakenya to compile a national baseline survey on the state of governance and democracy in Kenya, which has provided an excellent source of information in tailoring the design and resourcing of specific programs.[53] Similarly, Amkeni Wakenya has effectively promoted democratic justice in Kenya by facilitating avenues for citizens to “actively participate in nation building.” Amkeni focus on increasing public knowledge of the human rights enshrined in the Constitution, particularly in marginalised groups such as women.[54]

The development of organisations in Kenya specifically focussed on facilitating female political empowerment is a particularly encouraging trend. The Women’s Empowerment Link is partly coordinated by the UNDP’s Democratic Governance Project in Kenya and aims to promote “gender responsive policies and building capacity of women to participate in governance processes.”[55] Thus far, available statistics suggest that 350 women, drawn from seven rural regions of Kenya, have been trained on leadership skills through such programs, including briefing on constitutional rights, leadership and communication skills, campaign and fundraising skills, rules governing Kenyan elections and how to be involved in political parties.[56] While this is certainly positive momentum, with approximately 20 million women in Kenya, there is room to expand and improve the status quo.

In Australia, there are initiatives aimed at generally promoting an awareness of civic rights and responsibilities. However, there is also a notable absence of programs specifically tailored towards women. Statistics suggest that only 52 per cent of Year 6 and 49 per cent of Year 10 students reached the proficiency standard for that year when tested on general civic knowledge.[57]

A project to develop a new Civics and Citizenship syllabus commenced in July 2011 and was forecast for implementation from December 2013.[58] It involves the development of a separate teaching module aimed at fostering civics and citizenship knowledge and skills. There are, however, inherent outstanding weaknesses. Crucially, the curriculum is designed for Years 3-10, falling short of the final two years of schooling, where political knowledge and involvement is at its most critical. Secondly, the Australian curriculum specifies a 20-hour allocation per year to cover the civics content.[59] However, it does not further specify how exactly the curriculum should be integrated into existing units. Such decisions are left to the discretion of “teachers and schools depending on their context and the students in the classroom.”[60] Though a degree of flexibility is commendable so that “the curriculum remains alive and relevant for young Australians across the country,”[61] a lack of direction will be a significant barrier in encouraging teachers to engage in civics content. Furthermore, while women and feminist history does appear in the curriculum as a topic for coverage, contemporary political detail and practical engagement activities are notably absent.

Secondly, the persistence of conservative cultural stigma concerning ‘traditional’ female roles of subservience and domesticity can hinder the full potential of affirmative action initiatives and thus deserve specific attention and discussion in education reform. Indeed, “whilst quotas represent a temporary special measure to ‘fast-track’ women into parliament, it is widely acknowledged that long-term strategies are needed to address cultural, social and economic barriers that prevent women from standing for or being elected.”[62] The existence of entrenched cultural stigma towards women has recently re-emerged in Australia as a topic of political and public discussion, catalysed by
“a coarsening of political discourse and discussion and an acceleration of sexist language… that we haven’t seen before.”[63] Former Prime Minister Gillard famously berated then-opposition leader Tony Abbott as promoting “repulsive double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism.”[64] Kenya too is a nation with entrenched rituals and gender roles that serve to pacify women, compounded by low levels of socio-economic development, low rates of female education at a tertiary level and the influence of religious institutions and traditional dogma.[65]

Finally, in conjunction with civic and leadership knowledge and skills, young women require education concerning the availability of familial and child-care support services in their region. A recurring theme in the research conducted by Verge and de la Fuente was that the overwhelming number of party women characterised their political engagement as a “‘community duty’ to be performed for a limited period and only so far as it does not conflict too much with private life.” [66] One woman noted that “women separate their political engagement from their personal life, whereas men’s perception of leadership and power is continuous across time and space.”[67] Certainly, there is a difficult balance to be struck between many forms of employment and the maintenance of a family unit – a challenge compounded by the overwhelming statistical evidence that women serve as primary care givers.[68]

However, in most countries, legislative and community initiatives accommodate for this dual role. In Australia, the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender identity, marital status or potential pregnancy, along with other initiatives including paid parental leave, the Family Tax Benefit, child-care rebates and a range of health benefits associated with Medicare. Under the Kenyan Employment Act 2007, Kenyan women can access three months of maternity leave with full pay with extension subject to the employer’s discretion, the right to return to the same position after maternity leave and protection from dismissal on grounds of pregnancy or potential pregnancy. There are currently no legal provisions providing child care support.[69] A comprehensive analysis of the accessibility, affordability and scope of family support networks in these countries is outside the confines of this paper, however, suffice to conclude that while there is room for expansion and improvement of initiatives (particularly in relation to Kenya), it is by no means impossible for a woman to cherish her role as mother or wife while simultaneously performing her employment competently and thoroughly.


This paper agrees that “…gender quotas – as formal institutions – might well provide opportunities [for women’s political engagement], constraints on women’s agency are typically entrenched in informal institutions.”[70] Given the impending shift towards a post-2015 Millennium Development Agenda, it is critical that academic and political discussion reflects critically on the effectiveness of strategies employed at a global, regional and national level to empower women in the political sphere and catalyse reform. Two crucial areas for further development have been outlined to complement the quantitative benefits of gender quotas with a focus on qualitative outcomes. First, a specific and comprehensive civic education program tailored toward practical skills to overcome challenges associated with female political empowerment. Second, the consideration of a parliamentary code of conduct aimed at regulating political debate and interaction to deliberately emphasise non-confrontational and collaborative forms of dispute resolution and rhetoric.


Claire Bennett, 21, is a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws student in Macquarie University’s Merit Scholars Program. She is a tutor for Macquarie’s Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme and hopes to assess the UNDP’s ‘Preparing Women for Leadership’ program in Kenya. This essay is an edited version of a paper written as part of Global Voices’ UN study tour on sustainable development and environmental challenges.


[1] United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013, 19 (online) <>

[2] Ibid, 19.

[3] Inter-Parliamentary Union, Women in National Parliaments, 1April 2014 (online) <> 

[4] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013.

[5] Ibid.

[6] UN Women, Women in Politics Map 2014 – Statement by John Hendra (11 March 2014) (online) <>

[7] Ellerby, K. (2011) ‘Quotas for Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide by Mona Lena Krook’ Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, 32:2, 164-166, 165.

[8] McCann J, (2013) ‘Electoral quotas for women: an international overview’ Parliamentary Library Research Paper, Series 2013-14 (online) <;fileType=application/pdf>

[9] Women in Politics Map 2014.

[10] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013.

[11] McCann J 2013.

[12] Broderick, E. ‘Mandatory quotas may be needed on boards’ Australian Financial Review (8 April 2010) 63.

[13] McCann J 2013.

[14] Inter-Parliamentary Union Press Release, Increased Women’s Political Participation Still Dependent on Quotas, 2012 Elections Show (Geneva, 5 March 2013) (online) <>

[15] Inter-Parliamentary Union, Women in National Parliaments 2014.

[16] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013.

[17] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for the Advancement of Women, Equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes, with particular emphasis on political participation and leadership’, Expert Group Meeting (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 24-27 October 2005) (online) <>

[18] McCann J 2013.

[19] United Nations Development Program, Gender Equality in Elected Office in Asia Pacific: Six Actions to Expand Women’s Empowerment (September 2012) (online) <> 2.

[20] Klein, R S. (2012) ‘The Role of Women in Mediation and Conflict Resolution: Lessons for UN Security Council Resolution 1325’ Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, 18(2), 277-313, 300.

[21] Ibid, 301-2.

[22] Speech by Elizabeth Broderick, ‘Getting on board: Quotas and Gender Equality’ Gender Matters, Third Women on Boards Conference (Sydney, 29 April 2011) (online) <>

[23] McCann J 2013.

[24] US Merit Systems Protection Board, Merit System Principles (online) <>

[25] Speech by Elizabeth Broderick, ‘Getting on board’.

[26] Ellerby 2011, 165.

[27] Ibid.

[28] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013.

[29] Verge, T and de la Fuente, M (2014) ‘Play with different cards: Party politics, gender quotas and women’s empowerment’ International Political Science Review 35:67, 68-80, 68.

[30] Inter-Parliamentary Union, Women in National Parliaments 2014.

[31] The Constitution of Kenya 2010 s 97-98, s 98(c)-(d).

[32] Presentation by Professor Maria Nzomo (December 2012) ‘Representational Politics in Kenya: The Gender Quota and Beyond’ African Research and Resource Forum.

[33] Ibid.

[34] McCann, J and Wilson, J. (7 March 2012) Representation of women in Australian Parliaments, Research Publication Parliament of Australia (online) <>

[35] United Nations Development Program, Gender Equality in Elected Office in Asia Pacific.

[36] Inter-Parliamentary Union Press Release (Geneva, 5 March 2013).

[37] Australian Labor Party National Platform, Chapter 10: Open and Accountable Government, Point 28 (online) <>

[38] Speech by Elizabeth Broderick, ‘Getting on board’.

[39] McCann J 2013.

[40] Troeth, J. ‘A quota will level the playing field for Liberal women’ Sydney Morning Herald (5 July 2013); see also Greene, A. ‘Liberal MP Sharman Stone says party needs mandatory female quotas’ ABC News Online (8 March 2014) (online) <>

[41] Speech by Elizabeth Broderick, ‘Getting on board’.

[42] Conner, S. ‘The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are better at map reading’ The Independent (3 December 2013) (online) <>

[43] Women in Politics Map 2014.

[44] McCann J 2013.

[45] Verge, T. and de la Fuente, M. 2014.

[46] Brien, A. (Consultant) (14 September 1998) A Code of Conduct for Parliamentarians?, Research Publication, Politics and Public Administration Group, Parliament of Australia, Research Paper 2 1998-99 (online) <>

[47] Ibid.

[48] Australian Parliament, House of Representatives Standing and Sessional Orders (as of 14 November 2013) Chapter 8: Debate, order and disorder, Point 60-61 (online) <>

[49] Coorey, P. ‘”Oblivious” Abbott says he used ‘shame’ term first’ Sydney Morning Herald (11 October 2012) (online) <>

[50] Anderson, S. ‘Christopher Pyne denies using ‘c-bomb’ in Question Time’ SBS News (15 May 2014) (online) <>

[51] The World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa Education Overview, (2013) (online) <,,menuPK:444716~pagePK:51065911~piPK:64171006~theSitePK:444708,00.html>

[52] United Nations Development Program in Kenya, Democratic Governance – Civic Education, (2014) (online) <>

[53] Ibid.

[54] Amkeni Wakenya, Specific Objectives (2014) (online) <>

[55] Women’s Empowerment Link, Major Accomplishments of WEL (2008) (online) <>

[56] Ibid.

[57] Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program – Civics and Citizenship Years 6 & 10 Report (Sydney, 2011), xii.

[58] Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Civics and Citizenship (2011) (online) <>

[59] The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, Draft Years 3-10 Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship (May 2013) (online) <>

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] McCann J.

[63] Needham, K. and Power, J. ‘Brutal edge of sexism revealed’ Sydney Morning Herald (16 June 2013) (online) <>

[64] Anon, ‘Transcript of Julia Gillard’s speech’ Sydney Morning Herald (10 October 2012) (online) <>

[65] Bauer, G. (2012) ‘Let there be a Balance: Women in African Parliaments’ Political Studies Review 10, 370-384, 371.

[66] Verge, T. and de la Fuente, M.

[67] Ibid, 74.

[68] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4125.0 – Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2012: Caring for Children (online) <>

[69] Mywage Kenya (2014) (online) <>

[70] Verge, T. and de la Fuente, M.