Better Procedures for Fairer Outcomes: Youth Quotas in Parliaments

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Juliana Bidadanure


In this article, I put forward an instrumental justification for the introduction of youth quotas in parliaments on grounds of justice between coexisting generations. I provide a two-fold argument drawing on the distinction between “substantive representation” and “symbolic representation”. I argue that these jointly provide a good basis for a “politics of youth presence” in parliaments. In the first section, I evaluate the impact that youth quotas can have on enhancing the chances of fair youth policies (substantive representation). In the second section, I show that youth quotas can play an important symbolic role in the promotion of a community of political equals, with potential implications for youth political participation (symbolic representation).

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Author Biography

Juliana Bidadanure, European University Institute

Dr Juliana Bidadanure is a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence (2014/15). She completed her PhD thesis in Political Philosophy at the University of York (UK) on the question of what it means to treat young people as equals. She provided a critical framework that serves to distinguish between acceptable and objectionable inequalities between generations and looked at how the political theory of justice between generations can guide us in addressing current demographic trends and discourses of generational equity, and in informing creative and efficient policymaking.