The paper begins with an explanation of the international law, treaties and obligations that require states to ensure women’s access to and equality in the voter registration process. Not every state has ratified all of these documents, but most have signed on to some of them, and they collective establish a strong international norm of gender equity in all aspects of political life. The various forms of voter registration will be briefly explained as how the process basically works is essential to understand where the hurdles may lie for women as they attempt to navigate it. The statistical data, or lack thereof, will also be touched upon.
The paper then moves on to the heart of the issue, obstacles to women in the voter registration process. It will begin with legal and structural barriers women face in many places. It will then move on to the problems created by social, political, cultural and religious norms that throw up hurdles to participation in a wide range of countries, as well as the issue of violence against women. Each section will provide a number of examples of the problems described.
Finally, the paper will conclude with a small number of relatively brief but more comprehensive case studies that represent the types and range of challenges women confront in certain countries. These cases include Pakistan, Cameroon, Nepal, Afghanistan, Libya, Bolivia and Guatemala