Making Gender Salient: From Gender Quota Laws to Policy, Ana Catalano Weeks

Reviewed by Katelyn E. Stauffer

Gender quotas are perhaps the most prominent gender-based policy in advanced industrialized democracies and one of the most frequently examined topics in the research on gender and politics. Despite their prominence and the heavy emphasis quotas receive in the literature, debates over whether gender quotas lead to greater substantive (as opposed to simply descriptive) representation for women rage. In Making Gender Salient: From Gender Quota Laws to Policy, Ana Catalano Weeks wades into this debate and, rather than asking if gender quotas shape policy outcomes, asks when and how do gender quotas shape policy outcomes.

Weeks makes the arguments that gender quotas can, indeed, produce greater substantive representation for women, but that scholars must take into account the unique political context surrounding specific issue areas. As she incisively observes, the question of when women in office via quotas represent “women’s interests” is not just a gendered story but a party one as well. Parties are the ultimate organizing feature in legislatures and, as Weeks correctly notes, should have big implications for how we see women legislators behave. On many issues, political parties have well-established positions and have organized themselves along clear economic or class lines. These are precisely the issues on which, Weeks argues, gende

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