For women, Afghanistan's recent elections appear to have been more of a setback than a step forward. Early reports strongly suggest that voter turnout fell more sharply for women than for men in last week's polls. Election observers blame Taliban attacks, a dearth of female election workers, and the closure of at least 650 polling stations for women.
Some worry the result could be a new government that pays even less attention to women's concerns in a country where cultural conservatism already restricts female participation in public life. "The rockets started coming from the early morning and, until night, the rockets still came," said a woman who didn’t vote. "The government hasn't done anything for women, and there were a lot of security problems. That's why I didn't cast my vote."