This chapter reflects on the quotas for women experience of Latin America, where their implementation, in a context of affirmative action policies, has figured as a major goal in women’s struggles for access to power structures. It asks two main questions: to what extent have quota systems in Latin America served as a pathway of women’s political empowerment? And what lessons can be learnt from this experience?
In some countries, notably Costa Rica and Argentina, the introduction of quotas has produced changes in the balance of power, with women achieving significant levels of participation in legislative bodies. However, many other Latin American countries have adopted quota systems with no such effect. Half a century since they gained the right to vote, Latin American women have come to recognise that, in practice, the right they fought for did not guarantee the right to be elected as well.