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Gender Quotas in Politics: The Greek System in the Light of EU Law

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Positive action is currently gaining momentum in the European anti-discrimination discourse and policy-making as a necessary and effective tool to achieve the goal of full and effective equality in employment. Gender quotas in politics, however, are thought to remain outside the normative scope of Community law, the dominant view being that candidature for elected public office does not constitute employment in the sense of the relevant provisions. This article seeks to examine the Greek quota system for women in politics in its dialectical relationship to the general equality discourse and with reference to the current normative framework in Europe. The aims are threefold: to assess the legality of positive action in favour of women in politics from the point of view of EU law, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Greek system in achieving its gender equality goals, and to identify the problems that quotas in politics may pose with regard to the principle of democratic representation. It will, thus, be argued that positive measures in politics, though generally compatible with the fundamental principles of justice and representative democracy, may nevertheless be inadequate—at least in their current form—to provide effective solutions to the unequal distribution of social and political power.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: LSE Fellow and PhD candidate, London School of Economics and Political Science

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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