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Il difficile cammino verso la parità di genere nell’accesso alle cariche elettive


The aim of this paper is to analyse the evolution of gender balance in the Italian Constitutional system with respect to electoral representation. Even if Art. 51th of the Italian Constitution provides that “Any citizen of either sex is eligible for public offices and elected positions on equal terms, according to the conditions established by law. To this end, the Republic shall adopt specific measures to promote equal opportunities between women and men”, effective achieving of electoral representation has been heavily difficult for women in Italy. The Italian Constitutional Court in 1995 (judg. no. 422) declared the use of electoral quotas in lists of candidates unconstitutional, even if considered this measure useful to help women in accessing to local Assemblies, because of the legal nature of quotas: the Court qualified them as affirmative actions and stated that they were in direct contrast with Art. 3rd, 1th part of the Italian Constitution. But, the Constitutional Judge gradually shifted from this rigid perspective. In a more recent case law, indeed, the Court recognized the necessity of gender balance measures, even if different from electoral quotas (Const. Court judgs. nos. 49/2003 and 4/2010). However, the instruments provided by laws had not any real success and women are not effectively represented in political Assemblies. Taking gender balance effectiveness seriously?