Countries Where Women Cannot Vote 2022

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Historically speaking, women's suffrage—the right of women to vote in elections—is a remarkably recent development in the modern world. Although the state of New Jersey experimented with women's suffrage from 1776 to 1807, the earliest permanent establishment of women's suffrage in a full province (Pitcairn Islands) did not appear until 1838—and most sources agree that no fully sovereign nation would follow suit until Norway in 1913 (Finland in 1906 and New Zealand in 1896 were both earlier, but were technically territories of other countries at the time), barely a century ago.

Today, the situation has changed. Women now have the right to vote in every country and territory in the world except for one: Vatican City, in which only Catholic Church cardinals, who must be male, vote to elect the pope.

The legal right to vote vs. the election day reality

Having the legal right to vote does not always guarantee a realistic opportunity to vote. In some countries or regions, women have the legal right to vote, but are prevented from doing so by societal norms, harassment and violence at the polls, or pressure from their husbands.

For example, although pregnant females are given priority access at the polls in Kenya, according to watchdog website Votes without Violence and a 2019 United Nations report on election-related violence, individual instances of harassment or violence against female voters remain a concern.

Similarly, all Egyptians are automatically registered to vote when they turn 18 years old. However, according to a 2022 report by the non-profit Borgen Project, the seemingly common-sense requirement to show a valid I.D. at the polls can suppress the female vote. Women in this traditionally male-dominated society are less likely than men to have an ID (as well as an education and equal pay). Even if they have obtained one, it is often carried by their husband—who can withhold it and thereby prevent them from voting if he so desires.

One indicator of whether a country is effectively empowering women to vote is the number of women running for or serving in public office. In places where few women hold public office, the rights for women to vote—and their experience at the polls—may merit additional scrutiny.

For example, Nigeria's 2019 presidential election featured 73 candidates, but only six females—all six of whom withdrew their candidacy before the election. Women currently occupy less than 7% of Nigeria's national governmental seats (compared to a global average of approximately 26%) despite the fact that 47% of registered voters are female. However, experts see a clear cause for this disparity: a patriarchal national attitude that condones the suppression of women in many ways.

One well-known example of this attitude took place in 2016, when President Muhammadu Buhari declared “I don’t know exactly what party my wife belongs to. Actually she belongs in the kitchen, the living room and the other rooms in my house.” Statements such as these are often an indication that women's rights in a given country have room for improvement.

Equal opportunity oppression

A handful of countries limit the voting rights of both men and women equally. For example, the absolute monarchy Brunei has not held a national public election since 1962, and a recent election in the United Arab Emirates granted suffrage to only 12% of all men and women, who were selected using undisclosed criteria.

The table below outlines the dates upon which women's suffrage was attained in the majority of the world's countries and territories. These range from countries in which women's suffrage is fully accepted and supported to countries in which women are legally allowed to vote, but in reality are often restricted from doing so.

Countries Where Women Cannot Vote 2022

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Countries Where Women Cannot Vote 2022

Note: For countries in which suffrage was granted in stages, starting with a subset of women or elections and later expanded to include all women in all elections, the date upon which full voting rights were extended for all women is used. Earlier dates will be given in the notes field.
Country Date Full Suffrage Gained Notes
China1949
India19471935 for married or literate women, 1947 for all
United States19651920 according to the Nineteenth Amendment (and earlier in some states), but some southern states withheld the vote from black voters of both genders until the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Indonesia19451937 for Europeans, 1945 for all
Pakistan1947Full voting rights were given to men and women upon country's founding. Society is traditionally patriarchal, which can suppress female vote.
Nigeria1958
Brazil1932
Bangladesh1971
Russia1917
Mexico1953
Japan1946
Ethiopia1955
Philippines1937
Egypt1956Society is traditionally patriarchal, which can suppress female vote.
DR Congo1967As Zaire
Vietnam1946As North Vietnam
Iran1963Women in Iranian Azerbaijan previously enjoyed suffrage for one year as unrecognized Soviet puppet state from 1945-1946
Turkey19341930 for local elections, 1934 for all
Germany1918
Thailand1932
United Kingdom19281918 for qualified women aged 30+, 1928 for all
Tanzania1959Society is traditionally patriarchal, which can suppress female vote.
France1944
South Africa19941930 for Europeans and Asians, 1994 for all
Italy19451925 for local elections. 1945 for all
Myanmar1922
Kenya1963Society is traditionally patriarchal, which can suppress female vote.
Colombia1954
South Korea1948
Spain1977Granted 1924-1926, but no elections were held. Re-granted in 1931, revoked 1939. Re-established 1977
Uganda1962Society is traditionally patriarchal, which can suppress female vote.
Sudan1964
Argentina1947
Algeria1962
Iraq1948free elections were held for first time in 2005
Afghanistan1964Although women have the right to vote, suffrage is one of many female freedoms that the Taliban, which retook control of the country in 2021, has historically restricted
Poland1918
Ukraine1917As the Ukrainian People's Republic
Canada19601916-1940 for various provinces, 1960 for aboriginal women
Morocco1963
Saudi Arabia2015Granted 2011, not realized until 2015. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that rarely holds national elections. Society is traditionally patriarchal, which can suppress female vote.
Angola1975
Uzbekistan1938
Peru1955
Malaysia1955As Federation of Malaya
Yemen1970As South Yemen (1967) and North Yemen (1970)
Ghana1954
Mozambique1975
Nepal1951Upon becoming democracy
Madagascar1959
Venezuela1946Elections in Venezuela are widely disputed, with both major parties claiming to be the legitimate government after the 2019 election
Ivory Coast1952
Cameroon1946As British Cameroons
Niger1948
Australia19621894 for some colonies, 1902 for full territory (non-indigenous voters), 1962 for indigenous/aborigine voters
North Korea1946
Taiwan1947As part of mainland China
Burkina Faso1958As Upper Volta
Mali1956
Syria1949
Sri Lanka1931As Ceylon
Malawi1961
Zambia1962As Northern Rhodesia
Romania19461929 for qualified females and local elections. 1938 with restrictions for national elections. 1946 for all
Chile19491934 for literate women and local elections
Kazakhstan1924
Ecuador1967Limited suffrage for women 1929, equal for both genders in 1967
Guatemala19651945 if literate. 1965 for all
Chad1958
Somalia1956
Netherlands1919
Senegal1945
Cambodia1955
Zimbabwe1978As Southern Rhodesia. 1919 for white women, 1978 for all
Guinea1958
Rwanda1961
Benin1956As Dahomey
Burundi1961
Tunisia1957
Bolivia1952In 1938 for literate/high income women, 1952 for all
Belgium19481919 for communal voting, 1948 for provincial councils and the national parliament
Haiti1950
Jordan1974
Dominican Republic1942
Cuba1934
Sweden1919
Czech Republic1920As Czechoslovakia
Honduras1955
Greece19521930 for literate women in local elections, 1952 for all
Azerbaijan1918
Portugal19761911 with restrictions, rescinded, 1931 with restrictions, 1976 for all
Papua New Guinea1964Society is traditionally patriarchal, which can suppress female vote.
Hungary19451919 for women 30 and up who met educational and economical criteria. 1945 for all
Tajikistan1924
Belarus1919
United Arab Emirates2006Country is authoritative constitutional monarchy; elections select only an assembly of consultants to the Federal Supreme Council
Israel19481920 for Jewish settlement in Palestine, 1948 for all
Austria1918
Togo1945
Switzerland19711959 for local elections in Vaud and Neuchâtel, 1989 for Appenzell Ausserrhoden, 1990 for Appenzell Innerrhoden. 1971 for national elections
Sierra Leone1961Women could vote in the 1790s, when Sierra Leone was a British colony
Laos1958
Hong Kong1949
Serbia1990As Yugoslavia. 1945 in theory, 1990 in actual practice
Nicaragua1955
Libya19631951 for local, 1963 for all
Bulgaria19441937 for wives and widows in local elections, 1944 for all in all elections
Paraguay1961
Kyrgyzstan1918
Turkmenistan1924
El Salvador19501939 for literate older women, 1950 for all
Singapore1947
Republic of the Congo1963
Denmark19151908 for local elections, 1915 for national
Slovakia1920As Czechoslovakia
Central African Republic1986
Finland1906Country was technically part of Russia at the time, became independent in 1917.
Lebanon19521952 for women with elementary school education, 1957 for all
Norway1913
Liberia1946
Palestine19961972 for local elections, 1996 for parliament. No elections since 2006
New Zealand1893
Costa Rica1949
Ireland19221918 for women aged 30+ who met qualifications, 1922 for all
Mauritania1961
Oman1994Country is an absolute monarchy; elections select only an assembly of consultants to the sultan. Society is traditionally patriarchal, which can suppress female vote.
Panama19461941 for well-educated females, 1946 for all
Kuwait2005Requires 20 years Kuwaiti citizenship
Croatia1990As Yugoslavia. 1945 in theory, 1990 in actual practice
Georgia1918
EritreaCountry was established in 1993 and has never held a national election. Local elections are considered free and fair
Uruguay1917Universal suffrage granted 1917, no election held until 1927
Mongolia1924
Moldova19401929 for qualifying women & local elections, 1940 (establishment of new country) for all
Puerto Rico19351929 for literate, 1935 for all
Bosnia and Herzegovina1990As Yugoslavia. 1945 in theory, 1990 in actual practice
Albania1945
Jamaica1944
Armenia1919
Lithuania1918
Gambia1960
Qatar1997General elections had been repeatedly delayed from 2013-2021. Voting still restricted for naturalized citizens and members of Al Murrah tribe, but is not gender-specific
Botswana1965
Namibia1989Upon establishing independence
Gabon1956
Lesotho1965
Slovenia1990As Yugoslavia. 1945 in theory, 1990 in actual practice
Guinea Bissau1977
North Macedonia1990As Yugoslavia. 1945 in theory, 1990 in actual practice
Latvia1917
Equatorial Guinea1963Country has been a one-party state without free or fair elections since 1987
Trinidad and Tobago19451925 for men over 21 and women over 30, 1945 for all
Bahrain2002No elections from 1973 to 2002
Timor Leste1976
Estonia1917As a governate of Russia
Mauritius1956
Cyprus1960
Eswatini1968As Swaziland. Country is an absolute monarchy with a questionable voting process and low voter turnout
Djibouti1946
Fiji1963
Comoros1956
Guyana1953
Bhutan1953
Solomon Islands1974
Luxembourg1919
Montenegro1990As Yugoslavia. 1945 in theory, 1990 in actual practice
Suriname1948
Cape Verde1975
Malta1947
Maldives1932
Brunei1959No national elections since 1962. Men and women can vote in local elections
Bahamas1960
Belize1954As British Honduras
Iceland1920As Denmark. 1908 for local elections, 1915 for national for women 40+, 1920 for all
Vanuatu1975
Barbados1950
Sao Tome and Principe1975
Samoa1990
Curacao1949As Netherlands Antilles
Saint Lucia1951As British Windward Islands
Kiribati1967
Grenada1951As British Windward Islands
Micronesia1979
Jersey1919Voting itself was restricted until after 1945, but was not gender-biased
Seychelles1948
Tonga1960
Aruba1949As Netherlands Antilles
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines1951As British Windward Islands
United States Virgin Islands1936Voting required men and women to have minimum $300 income, but was not gender-specific
Antigua and Barbuda1951As British Leeward Islands
Isle of Man1881
Andorra1970
Dominica1951As British Windward Islands
Cayman Islands1957
Bermuda1944
Greenland1948
Faroe Islands1915As Denmark. 1908 for local elections, 1915 for national
Saint Kitts and Nevis1951As British Leeward Islands
Sint Maarten1949As Netherlands Antilles
Marshall Islands1979
Liechtenstein1984
Monaco1962
San Marino1959
British Virgin Islands1951As British Leeward Islands
Palau1979
Cook Islands1893
Anguilla1951As British Leeward Islands
Nauru1968
Tuvalu1967
Montserrat1951As British Leeward Islands
Vatican Cityn/aLacks female suffrage. Vatican City is a monarchy in which the only elections are to elect the Pope, and the only eligible voters are Catholic cardinals, who are required to be male. Women, in fact, comprise less than 6% of the Vatican City's population

Countries Where Women Cannot Vote 2022

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