Prof. Dr. Melanie Sully

Quotas or not?

A discussion now topical in Austria especially following the appointment of an all-male regional government. Here an interview with Dr Melanie Sully on Austrian Radio November 2015. Other reports and European case studies read on

The Austrian quality ran an article based on the APA release discussing quotas to promote women in politics and quoted some of the research findings of Dr Melanie Sully, "Frauenpolitik zwischen Quoten, Boni und Sanktionen". Apart from the controversies surrounding quotas or not, there is the additional problem of whether to introduce sanctions and if so what kind. Financial penalties can penalise small parties as happened in France but the fines are now higher to try and avoid this. Financial incentives can be offered to encourage placing women on the Lists but few want to spend more state money on politics these days. Rejection of the List can be a strong tool since the parties of course want to stand and get their candidates elected. This is dependent on the electoral officials who are often party appointees with little transparency and are also often male dominated. Also there are democratic considerations and constitutional implications for rejecting Lists. Does this not run contrary to democracy? But most of our countries have pledged to fulfill certain commitments in promoting gender equality especially in key areas of business and politics and most are failing to reach the minimum targets of 30% representation. An inclusive democracy needs optimal participation by all. Financial barriers have been shown to be the greatest hindrance for women in politics and thus diverting funds to help female candidates would be a step forward by political parties. If the budget spent on womens organisations is low it could be raised either voluntarily or included in legislation as in Finland. Ireland has some new party finance laws with gender quotas and sanctions included. You can read more in German too in the Tiroler Tageszeitung about this issue.
Österreichischer Frauenring also has many articles on women in politics etc
Austrian Media Affairs produces studies on women in culture, business and political life.