Chapter

Parity and Legislative Competence in France

Rainbow Murray

in The Impact of Gender Quotas

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199830091
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932924 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199830091.003.0002
Parity and Legislative Competence in France

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This chapter evaluates the common criticism that quotas violate the principle of “merit.” Comparing women elected after the passage of a legislative quota in France with their male counterparts and with women elected prior to 2002, Rainbow Murray separates quota women, non-quota women, and men. She examines indicators of political background, including age, profession, and levels of prior political experience, as well as measures of legislative activity, including the number of bills, reports, and parliamentary questions. This dual focus produces intriguing insights: the distinct profiles of male and female MPs suggest that quotas may help women overcome barriers to a political career, while similar levels of legislative activity demonstrate that quota women are as competent as men once elected. These findings support the need for quotas to overcome barriers to women’s access to politics, at the same time that they negate charges that quotas produce second-rate parliamentarians.

Keywords: gender quotas; parity; political recruitment; candidate qualifications; political backgrounds; legislative behavior; France

Chapter.  7597 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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