Reports indicate that many women were unable to vote in some parts of Afghanistan and that women’s voting cards were used to stuff ballot boxes in the country’s presidential election earlier this month. In some areas that are not controlled by the Taliban, however, women were nearly 60 percent of voters, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Overall, fewer women voted than in the 2004 national or 2005 parliamentary elections, reported To the Center. Women’s participation was particularly low in Taliban controlled southern regions and in places where segregated women-only polling places did not open due to lack of staff.
Sabrina Saghib, who belongs to an Afghan parliamentary committee on women’s rights, told the Washington Post, “Our constitution gives all men and women equal rights to vote, but in most areas that were not safe and secure, men did not let the women leave home and voted for them…is against the law and those votes should not be counted as women’s votes.” The high rate of proxy voting indicates wide potential for fraud.
Legislator Safia Siddiqui, from Nangahar province also told the Washington Post, “Everywhere I went before elections, I urged women in the villages to vote. But when the day came, even professional women in the city who normally felt free to go to work and shops and weddings stayed home. I was shocked…There has been a lot of talk about women’s civic life and political movements, but security comes first.”