Knowledge Levels of Gender Quotas is Low and Support for Gender Quotas is Split
Egypt had reserved seats for women from 1979-1986 and again from 2009 to 2011; however, women only achieved 2% of representation in parliament. Following the revolution, discussions began about introducing a gender quota in Egypt. This possibility of a reserved seats quota has been taken off the table for the upcoming elections, yet many women’s groups continue to hope to achieve this electoral reform in the future. In the upcoming elections, each political party is required to at least list one woman in the proportional representation part of the ballot, but she can be placed at any point on the list.
When measuring knowledge levels on gender quotas, the data clearly illustrates the low level of awareness of such a notion amongst the population. Nearly eight in 10 Egyptians (77%) say they do not know about the notion of gender quotas. Only 23% of Egyptians say they know a lot (10%) or a little (13%) about gender quotas. (Figure 3).
Interestingly, twice as many men as women (31% and 15%, respectively) are aware of gender quotas than women. Not surprisingly, awareness of gender quotas increases as education levels increase. Only 5% of Egyptians with no education are aware of gender quotas, compared to 11% with a primary education, 16% with an intermediate education, 24% with a secondary education and 51% with a university education or higher.
Those who are aware of gender quotas were then asked to what extent they support or oppose the adoption of gender quotas in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Fifty percent of respondents say they strongly (15%) or somewhat (35%) support the adoption of gender quotas in the upcoming elections, while almost the same proportion (46%) say they somewhat oppose (11%) or strongly oppose their introduction (35%). Similar to the pattern discussed above, not only do more men oppose gender quotas, a statistically significant percentage of them strongly oppose gender quotas, whereas more women strongly support gender quotas (Figure 4).