Afghan Women Fight To Be Elected Against All Odds

In a country where most women leave home only under the cover of a burqa, Shahla Atta wears bright pink nail polish, highlights her eyes with glitter and wants to be Afghanistan's next president.

Atta, 42, is one of two women among more than 30 candidates vying for the presidency — an uphill and even dangerous undertaking. Neither has much chance of unseating President Hamid Karzai in the Aug. 20 vote. But just the fact that they are running open campaigns, plastering photos of their uncovered faces around Kabul, is an accomplishment in itself.

Many Afghans, especially in rural areas, believe that a woman should not show her face to non-family members.

"It is difficult for a woman even to invite some people over for tea and tell them about her ideas," said Shinkai Kharokhel, a female lawmaker in Kabul.