'Lady Leaders': The Case of Quotas for Women's Representation in Argentina

Jul 2002
Argentina has taken steps to increase women's participation in politics. In 1991, it established that 30% of the candidate list for the Chamber of Deputies had to be women. As a consequence of the measure, the percentage of women deputies has increased from 5.44% in 1991/93 to 27% in 1995/97. At the same time, the country was under Menem's presidency that was considered to neglect democratic institution such as Parliament. The main aim of this paper is to answer the question: Does a quota system enhance women's participation in weak democracies? The main argument is given that the numeric increase of women has occurred in a weak and or neglected Parliament, the potential achievements of the initiatives has been neutralized. Additionally, the study argues that women have begun to make their voices heard in a political space that was traditionally controlled by men and this, in itself, constitutes a remarkable achievement.