Whose Empowerment? Gender Quota Reform Mechanisms and De-democratization in Morocco
The rapid expansion of electoral gender quotas in the past decades has been met with considerable scholarly attention. Yet, there has been little empirical work examining the mechanisms used to design and reform electoral gender quotas over time and evaluate their outcomes on women’s empowerment and democratization. Drawing on policy tracing and in-depth interviews conducted in-between 2003 and 2017 with political activists, this chapter provides a closer look at the very special reserved seats system adopted in the context of democratization and the strengthening of women’s rights in Morocco from 2002 to 2016. Despite being numerically effective in fielding 21% of women into the parliament in 2016, I argue that the National List provision generated side effects on women’s entitlement and legitimacy and thereby created the fallacy of a democratic and gender-inclusive parliament referred to here as de-democratization. The chapter concludes that the political legitimacy of gender quotas has been undermined by a deliberate protective strategy of the political patronage system which causes the creeping down of de-democratization.
KeywordsGender quota Reserved seats Quota provisions Empowerment De-democratization
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