Electoral System Reform and Implications for Gender Equality

This paper examines the impact of an electoral system on women’s participation in electoral politics and their representation in the legislature. It advances the argument that while the nature of an electoral system influences the degree of women’s representation other factors also play a role. Upon independence in 1966 Lesotho adopted the first-past-the-post system. This system, which was used until 2002, is generally considered less conducive to gender equality. There was a general optimism, therefore, when the model was changed in 2002 to a mixed member proportional system, which introduced an element of proportionality to the way in which votes cast in elections are translated into parliamentary seats. Generally proportional systems are reputed to encourage gender equality. But has this been the case in Lesotho thus far?

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections