Gender Reforms, Electoral Quotas, and Women's Political Representation in Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore
In the last two decades, more than 118 countries and political parties around the world have introduced gender quotas to guarantee women's political representation. While the study of gender quotas and electoral systems is an exciting field, few studies have focused on East Asia. Why do traditionally male-dominated parties engage in gender reforms? Have gender reforms improved women's political representation and participation? To address these questions, this introductory article offers an overview of the electoral rules, gender quotas, and candidate selection methods adopted in three broadly similar cases with different outcomes in Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore. Taiwan and South Korea introduced mixed electoral systems and legislated candidate quotas to improve women's legislative representation at the local and national levels. Singapore resisted legislating gender quotas while the ruling party voluntarily introduced a party quota in 2009. These gender equality strategies have brought slow and uneven results. Based on qualitative and quantitative methods as well as survey and electoral data, this paper offers new evidence showing why the effects of electoral systems and quota strategies are not automatic or mechanical, but dependent on the degree of party system institutionalization, electoral competitiveness, legal enforcement, and social-cultural attitudes toward women.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 June 2016
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- Pacific Affairs is a peer-reviewed, independent, and interdisciplinary scholarly journal focusing on important current political, economic and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific. Each issue contains approximately five new articles and 40-50 book reviews. Published continuously as a quarterly since 1928 under the same name, it is the oldest English-language journal with a focus on Asia and the Pacific. It enjoys an international reputation based on the high quality of articles, and its extensive book reviews section.
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