The idea of quotas for women often generates intense debate. But what about quotas for men?
Dr Rainbow Murray, Reader in Politics, Queen Mary University, will be discussing that question next
Wednesday 6th February CAG02, 1-2pm
Full abstract below
“Quotas for Men: Should we Reframe Gender Quotas as a Means of Quality Control?”.
Para: Although we often speak of “gender quotas”, these are understood to mean “quotas for women”. Gender imbalances in representation are problematised in terms of the under-representation of women rather than the over-representation of men. This paper contends that greater scrutiny needs to be paid to the over-representation of men, as this can present intrinsic problems that are not adequately considered in the current literature.
These problems include a reduced quality of representation for all, due to over-recruitment from restricted pools rather than making full use of the whole of society’s talent. A male-dominated political arena may also not be conducive to the full representation of men’s interests. At present, men’s interests remain under-theorised, as it is assumed that they will automatically be met by a predominantly male legislature, but this paper contends that the parliamentary culture fostered by gender imbalance inhibits the full representation of the needs and interests of some men. In order to remedy the situation, I propose a new form of quota that focuses on reducing over-representation, namely by acting as a ceiling on the number of men who can be present in office. The aim of such a quota is to boost the quality of representation by recruiting only the best representatives from the largest possible talent pool. Achieving this goal would require rethinking and updating the criteria for what makes a good representative in order to ensure that recruitment processes become more effective.