Democracy as Gender Balance: The Shift from Quotas to Parity in Latin America

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Seven Latin American countries—Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama—have recently shifted from quota laws to parity regimes. This paper offers the first scholarly examination of the discourses underlying this parity shift, exploring how proponents frame and justify the measure in these seven cases. I find that Latin America’s parity advocates appeal to women’s presence in the population and to the equality of outcomes. In doing so, they argue that gender balance constitutes a prerequisite of the democratic state. This framing is further legitimated by court decisions validating the constitutionality of affirmative action. In becoming widely shared, these discourses should continue to influence parity innovations across Latin America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214
Number of pages230
JournalPolitics, Groups, and Identities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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