When Ethnicity Beats Gender: Quotas and Political Representation in Rwanda and Burundi

TitleWhen Ethnicity Beats Gender: Quotas and Political Representation in Rwanda and Burundi
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGuariso, Andrea, Bert Ingelaere, and Marijke Verpoorten
JournalDevelopment and Change
Date Published11/2018

This article examines the impact of electoral gender quotas in post‐war Burundi and Rwanda on women's political representation. First, it looks at the evolution in descriptive representation by studying the number of female representatives and the prestige of their positions in the legislative and executive branches of government. The results show that, in both Rwanda and Burundi, the number of female political representatives significantly increased with the introduction of gender quotas, with their presence in parliament and ministries consistently exceeding 30 per cent. While women disproportionally end up in ministries of relatively lower prestige, the gap with men has been closing over time, as more women have joined the executive branches of power. The study considers whether such an increase has been accompanied by a positive evolution in the way ordinary women perceive their political representation. Despite a general improvement in perceived political representation across the population, the article finds there is not a significant difference between women and men and the study explains this finding by analysing the intersectionality of ethnicity and gender.

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