Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Committee Member

Christian Jensen

Second Committee Member

Michele Kuenzi

Third Committee Member

Steven Landis

Fourth Committee Member

Rebecca Gill

Fifth Committee Member

Georgiann Davis

Number of Pages



National legislatures have traditionally been regarded as male dominant spaces. This general attitude is owed to the historical institutionalization of patrimonial autocracy and male dominance embedded in electoral institutions globally. Yet, progress is evident with the advancement of global political gender platforms to involve more women in politics. In order to promote women’s political representation, countries across Africa have employed a fast-track approach that necessitated the implementation of electoral gender quotas. These quotas have since proved to be more effective at electing high proportions of women legislators than incremental approaches adopted elsewhere. What took others close to a century to achieve took Africa just under three decades. However, while generally effective, quotas have had varying levels of success across countries that employ them, therefore suggesting alternative institutional structures for the implementation of quota systems. Using the Beck & Katz standard for pooled longitudinal data, I employ panels of 48 African states from 1990 to 2020 and provide evidence in support of the notion that the success of quota systems is contingent on two important institutional elements: the quota system design and the design of the electoral system in which those quotas operate. Specifically, I introduce the notion of gendered electoral systems into our understanding of the structure of mutual expectations and strategic coordination that quotas create for parties operating under alternative electoral conditions. Whereby some electoral systems will enhance the outcome of individual quota provisions, other systems will ensure the constrain of those provisions at the cost of electing a higher proportion of women. The conclusion that stems from this analysis is that just as electoral systems are designed to serve pre-determined electoral purposes, quotas can also be designed to serve a similar function. By disaggregating quota systems and examining them contextually, we can then determine their expected outcome and provide system designers across different institutional environments with all the tools they require to build the optimal quota system that is the most conducive to the election of women.


Electoral gender quotas; Quota system; Africa


Political Science

File Format


File Size

13300 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit

Available for download on Sunday, August 15, 2027