Transnational Women's Activism and the Global Diffusion of Gender Quotas

Melanie M. Hughes, Mona Lena Krook, Pamela Paxton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The rapid global spread of quotas for women constitutes one of the most significant political developments of the last thirty years. It transformed the composition of legislatures worldwide. Yet we lack a solid understanding of the forces driving quota diffusion. In this article, we consider how global pressure from the international women's movement affects national gender quota adoption. In the first quantitative analysis of this question on a global scale, we use event history techniques to examine global, transnational, and national influences on quota adoption in 149 countries between 1989 and 2008. Contributing to work on international norm diffusion, we find a crucial role for women's activism, but uncover a negative interaction between increased global pressures and domestic ties to women's transnational organizing. We suggest global pressure to adopt quotas may be weakened by the diverse agendas of women's activist organizations, by perceived threats to male elites posed by women's agitation, or both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-372
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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