This review attempts to synthesise the available literature addressing women’s election participation in Afghanistan, spanning a period of 6 years. Press coverage around the recent presidential elections in Afghanistan emphasised the low turnout of women voters, the perceived lack of security at voting stations, and election fraud. However, things are clearly changing in Afghanistan, with recent data indicating that women, who comprise 55% of the population and are considered part of the ‘intelligentsia’ within Parliament increased their Provincial Council participation in the 2009 election by 20 percent.
Lesson learning from prior elections has been described as a major building block to subsequent success in following elections. This includes the influence of Government and NGO-sponsored programmes which conducted public information campaigns to encourage female voter registration; correctly identified physical safety and security as a major concern; created women-only voting stations staffed by female election workers and offered the highly publicised option of voter registration cards without the requirement of being photographed. Lessons relating female candidacy include – observing and reforming legal frameworks, reform of quota system, well planned security arrangment, openness in political parties and financial support.