The Problem of Gender Quotas: Women’s Representatives on Timor-Leste’s Suku Councils

Citation:

Cummins, Deborah. 2011. “The Problem of Gender Quotas: Women’s Representatives on Timor-Leste’s Suku Councils.” Development in Practice 21 (1): 85–95. doi:10.1080/09614524.2011.530246.

Author: Deborah Cummins

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT

This article examines the experiences of women occupying reserved seats on the suku councils of Timor-Leste (each of which represents a number of small villages). The limited political participation of these women is often ascribed to patriarchal ideas within rural areas, and the need for capacity development. This article argues, however, that there are further structural issues at play, whereby the interaction between traditional and modern governance makes it difficult for women occupying reserved seats to make their mark. While gender quotas can be a useful tool to encourage women’s political participation, these structural issues need to be recognised and addressed in order to truly empower women.

FRENCH ABSTRACT

Cet article examineles expériences des femmes qui occupent des sièges réservés au sein des conseils desuku duTimor oriental (dont chacun repreésente un petit nombre de petits villages). La participation politique limitée de ces femmes est souvent attribuée à des idées patriarcales propres aux zones rurales et à la nécessité de développement des capacités. Cet article soutient, toutefois, qu’il y a d’autres questions structurelles en jeu, dans le cadre desquelles l’interaction entre la gouvernance traditionnelle et moderne fait qu’il est difficile pour les femmes qui occupent des sièges re´serve´s de s’imposer. Bien que les quotas de genrepuissent constituer un outil utile pour encourager la participation politique des femmes, ces questions structurelles doivent être reconnues et résolues pour véritablement autonomiser les femmes.

SPANISH ABSTRACT

Este ensayo analiza las experiencias de las mujeres que ocuparon curules reservadas para ellas en los consejos suku de Timor Oriental (cada uno de ellos representaba varias aldeas). La limitada participacio´n polı´tica de las mujeres se atribuye a menudo a las ideas patriarcales que existen en el a´mbito rural y a la necesidad de desarrollar capacidades. Sin embargo, el ensayo sostiene que entran en juego otros temas estructurales como la interaccio´n entre gobierno tradicional y moderno, lo cual impide que las mujeres que ocupan curules reservadas consigan el impacto deseado. Desde luego, las cuotas de ge´nero pueden favorecer una mayor participacio´n polı´tica de las mujeres, pero para que las mujeres se empoderen de manera significativa el orden estructural tiene que ser visibilizado y deconstruido.

PORTUGUESE ABSTRACT

Este artigo examina as experieˆncias das mulheres que esta˜o ocupando posic¸o˜es reservadas nos conselhos de suku de Timor-Leste (cada um deles representa va´rios vilarejos pequenos). A participac¸a˜o polı´tica limitada destas mulheres e´ frequentemente atribuı´da a ideias patriarcais dentro de a´reas rurais e a` necessidade de desenvolvimento de capacidades. Este artigo argumenta, pore´m, que ha´ outras questo˜es estruturais em jogo, que fazem com que a interac¸a˜o entre a governanc¸a tradicional e a moderna dificulte que as mulheres ocupem posic¸o˜es que possibilitem que elas fac¸am uma diferenc¸a. Embora as quotas de geˆnero possam ser uma ferramenta u´til para incentivar a participac¸a˜o polı´tica das mulheres, essas questo˜es estruturais precisam ser reconhecidas e abordadas para realmente empoderar as mulheres.

Keywords: aid, gender, diversity, governace, public policy, Southeast Asia

Topics: Gender, Women, Governance, Quotas, Justice, Political Participation Regions: Oceania Countries: Timor-Leste

Year: 2011

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