The Uneven Representation of Women in Asian Parliaments: Explaining Variation across the Region
Although home to the majority of the world's women, Asia is the continent with the smallest proportion of women in Parliament. Rarely studied from a comparative perspective, this article examines the uneven representation of women in the lower houses of contemporary Asian parliaments. While socio-economic modernization and industrialization are generally expected to increase the proportion of women in positions of political influence, we find that differences in electoral and party systems across Asia play a greater role than levels of female literacy, urbanization, or per capita income. In particular, Asian parliaments with strict quotas and a higher number of (three of more) major political parties had significantly more female MPs. We also found cultural attitudes supportive of women in the public sphere to make a difference along with multi-member districts and parties on the political left. © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013.