Publication details

The quota debate in the Czech Republic and the post-communist legacy

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Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Women's Studies International Forum
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Gender quotas; Political discourse; Czech Republic; CEE region; Post-communist countries
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Description Most countries currently use some type of legislative or voluntary party quota to increase women's descriptive representation. The Czech Republic, however, despite low female parliamentary representation and three unsuccessful legislative proposals, has never adopted any quota mechanism, and all relevant political parties are reluctant to use voluntary party quotas. The aim of this paper is to present the arguments employed in the Czech quota debate and identify the reasons for such attitudes. We study the quota debate based on elite attitudes through media analysis and interviews with politicians from across the political spectrum. We find that most politicians do not support quotas. The quota debate is dominated by liberal individualist discourses of quotas as "offensive and humiliating" and unable to solve the problem of underrepresentation caused by "women's lack of interest in electoral politics". We find that many women politicians internalize the dominant negative quota arguments which prevent them from requesting institutional change and pressing for qouta measures in their own parties. We connect the findings with historical and political experiences that could provide important insights into quota reluctance in other post-communist countries.
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