As of early 2012, women are not allowed to vote at all in Saudi Arabia and Vatican City, and both women and men have a limited vote in Brunei and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Though all other countries allow women to vote in some elections, some countries have a traditionally low turnout of women voters because of social conventions. The most recent country to allow women the full right to vote was Bhutan, which changed from a family voting system to an individual voting system in 2008.
Saudi Arabia is one of two countries in the world where women cannot vote in any elections whatsoever. They are also not allowed to run for any political offices. Though many women attempted to register as voters in the 2011 municipal elections, they were turned down. Despite this, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has said that women will be able to run for municipal offices and vote in 2015.
Voting in Vatican City is a little different from the rest of the world, because it is a theocracy, or a rule by a religious figure. The only time a vote is taken regarding the rule of the Vatican is to elect a new pope after a pope dies or resigns. Women are involved by default because the only people allowed to participate are cardinals under the age of 80. Since canon law does not allow women to be ordained as priests, there are no women cardinals.
Brunei is a monarchy, with the sultan heading the state and the government. He is advised by several councils with members appointed by the sultan, so there are no national elections in the country. The government has been run this way since a rebellion in 1962, and the country nominally exists in a state of emergency under martial law. Though men and women are not allowed to vote on a national level, the country does have universal suffrage for those 18 and older in elections for village leaders.
United Arab Emirates
Neither men nor women are allowed to vote for the overall leader of the UAE, but a small percentage of men and women were allowed to vote for members of a national advisory council in 2011. During this election, about 12% of Emiratis were given the right to vote, regardless of gender, which was about 20 times more voters than were eligible in a 2006 election. The criteria for eligibility were not published. Voter turnout in the 2011 election was low, with only about 28% of eligible voters actually voting. Many voting stations reported a higher ratio of women turning out to vote than men, and one woman was elected to the council.
Low Female Voter Participation
Even countries where women are allowed to vote may not have a very high percentage of women who actually turn out. This sometimes happens because of social or cultural traditions; for instance, women in a very traditionally patriarchal society may feel uncomfortable voting. Education is an issue in other areas, where women often don't vote because they don't know or understand their voting rights.