Gender Quotas Database

Country Data



Afghanistan (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan)

Afghanistan (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) has a Bicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and upper house and at the sub-national level. 68 of 250 (27%) seats in the Wolesi Jirga / House of the People are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Upper House? Yes
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? No

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 16, 2019

Single/Lower House

Wolesi Jirga / House of the People

Total seats 250
Total Women 68
% Women 27%
Election Year 2018
Electoral System SNTV
Quota Type Reserved seats
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Constitution

According to Article 83 of the 2004 Constitution, 68 of the 249 total seats (27%) in the Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) are reserved for women, comprising at least 2 women for each of the 34 provinces of the country.

Electoral law The Electoral Commission will determine the number of reserved seats for women in each of the 34 electoral constituencies in order to fulfil the constitutional provision of the 68 reserved seats for women in the lower house (Electoral Law 2010, Articles 20 and 23). From the total of 68 allocated seats for women, 3 seats shall be allocated to Kochis (2010 Regulation on Allocation of Wolesi Jirga Seats for Women).
Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law ‘If there are not enough female candidates on the list to occupy the allocated seat, the Commission shall adopt measures to make sure the seats do not remain vacant.’ (Article 23)
Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

The female candidates who receive the most votes in each electoral constituency shall be assigned with the reserved seats decided for the constituency. After meeting the quota requirements, the remaining seats (if any) in a constituency shall be assigned to candidates according to the rules of the electoral system (SNTV) regardless of their sex, (Electoral Law 2010, Article 23).


Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? Not applicable  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

Upper House

Meshrano Jirga / House of Elders

Total seats 102
Total Women 16
% Women 16%
Election Year 2015
Electoral System Indirectly elected / appointed
Quota Type Reserved seats>
Election details IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Constitution According to Article 84 of the Constitution, two-thirds of the total number of the members of the upper house (Meshrano Jirga) are indirectly elected and one-third is appointed by the president of the country. 50% of the individuals appointed by the president must be women.
Electoral law  
Legal sanctions for non-compliance N/A  
Rank order/placement rules N/A  

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Reserved seats
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Constitution  
Electoral law At least 20% of the seats of each provincial council shall be allocated to female candidates with the most votes. The remainder of the seats shall be allocated to the candidates who receive the highest number of votes regardless of gender (Electoral Law, Article 30 (2)).
Legal sanctions for non-compliance N/A Not applicable
Rank order/placement rules N/A Not applicable

Additional Information

In the 2005 elections, the voters cast their ballots for individual candidates, sometimes on candidate lists which included 400 names. The Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), which was co-managed by the United Nations and the Afghan Government to administer the elections, decided the order of candidates on electoral lists by a ballot lottery, so that the sequencing would not be biased toward any candidate, and so that every elected representative was elected by virtue of the number of votes as opposed to a favourable placement on the party list (JEMB 2005:12).




United States Library of Congress, ‘Afghanistan: President Approves New Election Law’, Global Legal Monitor (8 August 2013);

Joint Electoral Management Body, ‘Final Report, National Assembly and Provincial Council Elections 2005’,

Additional reading

  • Wordsworth, Anna 2007. 'A matter of interests: gender and the politics of presence in Afghanistan's Wolesi Jirga' Issue Paper Series, AREU.
  • Ballington, J. and Dahlerup, D. 2006. 'Gender quotas in post-conflict states: East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq', in Dahlerup, D. Women, Quotas and Politics, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 249-258.
  • Afghan Women’s Network, 2004. ‘Official Website’. Online. Available at:
  • United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 2004. ‘The Constitution of Afghanistan’, January 3.
  • Annan, K. 2002. ‘Afghan Women May Still Suffer’, Associated Press. Online. Available at:
  • Afghan Parliament website,
  • United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan,

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