19.11.2018 in Analysis
Female Leadership and Gender Quotas


Political quota as a system has received support in many countries across the globe. More significantly, the system found its momentum in the second half of the twentieth century with many male conservative states abolishing adverse laws on the women participation in politics. The introduction and advocating the political quota systems has led to the rise of women leadership across the globe. A lot can be said on the struggle being championed by some organizations targeting the male-dominated cultural societies. The political quota system has recently received a notable push in the context of the two countries: Egypt and India. In Egypt, which is the particular focus of the proposed study, the pressure has been mounting on the side of the constitution drafters to include the quota system to ensure that women participate in the parliament and other political activities just as their male counterparts do. The push for women’s inclusion into Egypt’s politics is considered a significant contribution by the women rights’ organizations from within and beyond the country. Several lobbies and promotion campaigns have been undertaken across Egypt to ensure that women are fairly represented in the national political undertakings. This study consequently seeks to explore the women leadership and political quota issues in order to understand the level of women participation in the global politics. The study is largely biased towards the women leadership and their participation in political activities in Egypt.

Study Aim and Research Questions

The proposed study explores the evidence that gender quotas impact the efficiency and equity in the political sphere and seeks to provide a solid ground for exploitation of the women leadership skills. The study will be based on the following specific research questions: 1. What are some of the randomized political quota allocations that have contributed to the just representation and participation of genders in the political spheres? 2. What possible observations can be made from the gender differences in considering political leadership, especially in the multi-ethnic nations of the world? 3. Have the women activists and civil rights organizations played any significant roles in pushing for the inclusion of women in the political leadership in the contexts of different countries across the globe?

Brief Background of the Study

Social attitude towards women in some nations has been the main factor in the perception of the idea of quota systems. For instance, the Egypt’s women rights organizations have been lobbying to make the women political quotas be included into the constitution. Such drafts are intended to allow for the inclusion of women in political decision-making within the country. The move has caused political jitters, especially among the male politicians who thrive on the Sharia law that justifies the male dominance in the society. Still citing the case of Egypt, the first adoption of the political quota system in Egypt was in 2010, according to which 12 percent of the parliamentary seats were reserved for women. The earlier installed quota system, however, was abolished after the 2011 Egyptian revolution. However, there are plans to urge the constitutional drafters to consider the re-introduction of the quota system in the constitution to ensure equity and effectiveness in the social representation.

Literature Review

The 1995 UN Beijing Conference gave push for the “equal representation of women at all levels of decision-making, both in the national and international institutions”. It created an environment for the quota system inclusions in many political systems. The three types of political quotas have come into existence based on the approach applied by the country in question. The first type is the voluntary party quotas. Under this scenario, a particular party charges itself with the duty to include a certain percentage of women to its election lists. The second type is the one stipulated by the country’s legislation. In such a situation, the law is usually very clear on the number of females that should be elected to the political positions. At one point, it may refer to the conditioning of women to be on the political lists, for example, every second entry into an elective post to be a woman.

The third type is reserving specific seats for females only to enable them to be a part of the decision-making organs. It means that for such positions, a male cannot be allowed to vie. Out of the countries that currently have quota system entrenched in their political spheres, 61 percent have chosen to apply the voluntary party quotas, which, however, are usually combined with the other types. 38 percent have adopted the legislative approach, in which the law defines the percentage of the women representation. 20 percent have adopted the reservation mode, in which some seats are reserved for the female competitors.

Going along the continental allocations for determine the countries’ implementation of the political quota systems, many western countries, including Canada and Australia, have adopted the voluntary party quotas. The United States, however, is an exception as it does not apply any quotas at all. The Latin America nations have adopted the legislative approach, in which their laws categorically define the number of women to be elected into the national political spheres. This legislative adoption of quotas was facilitated by the concept of consolidating democracy, especially in the 1980s; this aspect led to the sprout of many civil rights and women groups. In South Asia, many countries have implemented the political quotas, in which the reserved seats pattern has been adopted. There are some exceptional countries in the region, which have mixed the three types to achieve a better female representation in the national politics. The countries in the South Asia have been the frontrunners in implementing the quotas up to local government levels as seen in the histories of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.


It is unfortunate that the Middle East countries have received limited support in the implementation of the quota system. Such is the result of the constrained perception of women in the public arena. The only exception is Jordan and Israel, which apply the system just like the other Western and Latin American countries do. The African states have also reported positive trends in their reception of the quota system implementation. Led by South Africa as a frontrunner and Uganda, the African nations have shown the possibility of implementing the political quota laws for ensuring the national equity. South Africa, on its part, uses the voluntary party quotas. Moreover, the significant roles played by women, particularly in the non-traditional spheres in the countries like Rwanda, which experienced genocide has been impetus in the introduction of the political quota.

Egypt’s contribution in the implementation of the political quota system was seen by its allocating a particular fraction of seats to women in the lower parliament. The system was only implemented after the 2011 revolution. However, the 2011-2012 elections saw the two-thirds of the elective seats being carried by the party list and the other third carried by the block voting. It saw a larger number of political seats taken by the Muslim Brotherhood, and deputized by women who did not win the elective seats. The Egyptian Women Union has been challenged to call for its members in the constitutional drafting committee for a meeting to discuss the role of females in the country’s political future game plan. In addition, the National Council for Women (NCW) in Egypt called its 50-member panel to support the ways that will bring the women’s quota system into the national political system.

The Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR) is the other body that has been championing for the inclusion of women in the political decision-making. On their website, they posted an open letter supporting the same idea. In facilitating and championing this idea, the group has launched an online campaign on its Facebook account advocating the equal representation of women in the national political decision-making. The experts in the gender issues in Egypt believe that today, it is easier to introduce the women political quota systems than ever before in the history of the country. They argue that it is only quota can ensure an equal representation of the female gender in the political sphere of Egypt. Therefore, there is a need for the parliament to protect the rights of the women through the due legislative process. The launch of the countrywide group called The Parliament to Protect Women’s Rights is considered a boost to the re-introduction of the political female quota system. In the countries that implement the quota system in the political scene, there exist collective responsibilities in terms of decision-making. Such a collective responsibility has facilitated the distributive skills exploitation without any gender feeling unrepresented.

Proposed Design and Methodology

Sampling and Design

In the proposed study, the qualitative research designs will be used. The necessary information will be collected from the primary sources, largely via semi-structured interviews. A sample of women associated with the various female activist groups in different parts of the world, majority being Egypt, will be invited to take part in the study. The study will use two modes of sampling: snowball and stratification. The snowball sampling is the type of sampling method, in which the researcher is provided with the contacts of the subjects of study. The contact providers have to be genuine and be sure about the objectivity of the information to be attained. The researcher will ensure that the study is both valid and objective. In addition, the study will employ the stratified sampling. The stratified sampling provides the researcher with varied data, according to which, one can make a comparison in order to improve the reliability of the study. A total of thirty women activists will be sampled and invited for the interviews. The research may conduct the study for a period of up to three months. Both male and female participants will be invited to take part in the proposed study.

Data Collection

The researcher will gather data from the study participants via the online communication methods and telephone interviews. Prior to the study, the researcher will send consent letters to the target participants asking them to participate in the study. It will be done via civil rights organizations, to which the participants are affiliated. Apart from asking for the consent, the consent letter will assure the participants of their privacy during the study. Upon the consent of the organizations and individual participants, the researcher will arrange the interviews time and date, which will be conducted via Skype and telephone. The researcher will use semi-structured interview guides during the study. The semi-structured guides are the best option for the interactive study since they allow flexibility on the side of the researcher in order to get the necessary data comprehensively. At the end of the study period, the researcher will debrief the participants to establish the authenticity of the whole study period and improve its validity.

Data Analysis and Presentation

Data gathered from the target participants will be analyzed with a thematic analysis approach. The thematic approach is largely useful for cross-examination of data patterns and themes within the collected data sets. The themes in thematic analysis refer to the identifiable data patterns within the collected data sets. The patterns that will be identified during the analysis will be linked to the set research objectives and will be instrumental in describing and categorizing the phenomenon of the study. In the case of the current study, thematic analysis will entail both the counting of the key phrases used by the participants and analysis of the implicit and explicit views of the respondents. In addition, the focus will be put on the identification of the key patterns and experiences as stated by the participants. In the majority of instances, the qualitative study participants are expected to share common experiences, implying that the phenomenon of the study may be understood in a shared perspective. Such is the view in the proposed study where the target participants are expected to share the near-similar experience with regards to women leadership and quota systems.

Conclusion and Expected Results

The proposed study entails a brief literature review and a plan on how to conduct research on the female leadership and gender quotas. While some literature reviewed suggests that a number of countries have satisfied the demands of women activists to implement the quota systems and allow more females into the political leadership, the other sources contrarily point to the lapses and challenges in the women political leadership progress. Although most of the western nations have made their political provisions more flexible in order to allow for the women participation in leadership and political decision-making, a number of countries in the East are yet to entrench such provisions. In the majority of cases, Egypt is highlighted in this study for its lack of provisions on the women leadership frameworks. While there were earlier attempts in Egypt of introducing the quota systems and women support to political leadership, the recent political turmoil in the country has resulted in the revocation of the provisions by the Muslim Brotherhood government. In brief, the case of Egypt is a good demonstration of a context, in which the women leadership is not empowered.

In order to gather information on the topic of study, the researcher proposes to contact the women political organizations and institutions that support female leadership in politics. The researcher will particularly focus on such organizations in Egypt. Through online communication with the organizations, the researcher will seek to contact individual women activists via their organizations to ask them concerning their views on the women leadership and quota systems. With thirty target participants, the researcher will seek to attain valid and reliable results. The participants are expected to share their disappointments and experiences in absence or presence of the quota systems. The study results will offer an insight into the effective political leadership that involves women.

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