Implementing Gender Quotas in Portugal: A Success Story?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The so-called Portuguese Parity Law adopted in 2006 determined that candidate lists presented for national, European and local elections must include one third minimum representation of each sex. Following its revision in 2019, the minimum percentage required for each sex increased to 40%. The implementation of the Portuguese Parity Law has succeeded in meeting the direct goals of the policy. However, can the same be said for all stages of implementation? Moreover, even when the numbers tell a success story, what practices and resistances do they conceal? And, finally, has the law contributed to gender empowerment that goes beyond the direct scope of the law? This chapter aims to answer these questions by focusing on the national Parliament and on the major Portuguese parties. It draws on the figures for candidates and MPs between 2002 and 2019 as well as on semi-directive interviews with party stakeholders. The main conclusions are the following. First, the implementation of the law takes place smoothly in all four stages of implementation, although parties have usually gone no further than the minimum quota requirements. Parties’ actions and discourses demonstrate a moderate but serious commitment to the law. Second, both explicit and implicit forms of individual resistance, as well as passive institutional resistance take place at the national level for both parties. These resistances are not intended to cause policy failure, but rather to limit policy success. Third, the indirect effects of the law (i.e., gender empowerment in Parliament) are still limited.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Politics
EditorsSabine Lang, Petra Meier, Birgit Sauer
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-08931-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-08933-6
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameGender and Politics
ISSN (Print)2662-5814
ISSN (Electronic)2662-5822


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