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Insecure Men and the Puzzle of Gender Quotas: Insights from the Brazilian Case

  • K3.11, Strand Campus Strand London, England United Kingdom (map)

The Brazil Institute invites you to a lecture by Dr. Malu Gatto.


Given their potential to negatively impact men’s goal of staying in office, can gender quotas be aligned with the preferences of male legislators who adopt the policy? In other words, does the rapid spread of gender quotas worldwide challenge notions of the rationality of legislators as career-driven individuals? To answer these questions, the current book project develops a micro-level framework that accounts for how electoral security and political ambition impact legislators’ behaviour in influencing the strength of gender quota designs. Faced with growing pressures to adopt gender quotas, male parliamentarians engage in the risk-taking process of assenting with gender quotas, meanwhile seeking to minimize the potential costs of the policy to their future careers by actively weakening quota designs. The causal mechanisms of the theory are illustrated with quantitative and qualitative data, including an original elite survey experiment, from Brazil.



Malu A. C. Gatto is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Science at the University of Zürich (Switzerland). She has received a DPhil and MSc from the University of Oxford (UK) and a BA from Columbia University (USA). Her work predominantly explores questions about electoral reform, legislatures, political representation, and gender and politics—with a regional focus in Latin America, especially Brazil. Malu’s current book project poses an individual-level theory based on male legislators’ career-goals to explain the emergence and design of gender quotas in Latin America. She is also pursuing research projects on electoral reform, gender and political dynasties, and women’s symbolic representation. Her work has been appeared in the JPLA, as well as in other publications. Malu is the co-founder and co-organiser of the Zurich Summer School for Women in Political Methodology.


This talk, part of the King's Brazil Institute Research Seminar Series, will be followed by a Q&A and wine.