Measuring the quality of politicians elected via gender quotas – are they any different?
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Do gender quotas reduce the quality of politicians elected to a legislature? For the first time in the literature, this article addresses this question by examining the quality of ‘quota women’ compared to their non-quota colleagues at three stages of their political career: their electoral performance, their qualifications for political office and their post-election legislative career trajectories. Drawing on the unique case of Britain following the 1997 general election, no significant difference is found between the quality of ‘quota women’ and their non-quota colleagues. Voters do not punish ‘quota women’ at the ballot box; ‘quota women’ are as equally qualified for political office as their colleagues; and the gatekeepers of executive office do not discriminate against ‘quota women’ in front-bench promotions. Considering this, the article concludes by asking whether the similarity of ‘quota women’ to their colleagues may actually impact on their capacity to affect transformative substantive representation.