• | 3:30 pm

Women voters to almost equal men in next year’s election: report

Women voters, who will outnumber men voters by 2029, are playing a significantly bigger role in elections, says SBI report

Women voters to almost equal men in next year’s election: report
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Women voters are likely to equal men in next year’s general election, India’s largest lender State Bank of India said in a report.

“Rising participation of women in India’s political arena is one of the most significant stories of the last decade,” the report said, adding that women voters are now playing a significantly bigger role in elections than ever before.

During the 2019 general Lok Sabha elections, the turnout of female voters surpassed that of male voters, marking a significant change from 1991 when there was a more than 10% gap. This gap remained relatively steady at around 8.4% across four elections from 1996 to 2004.”

Women’s voter participation has shown a notable increase in state assembly elections. In the past five years, among the 23 major states with elections, women’s turnout exceeded that of men in 18. Notably, in 10 of these states where women’s turnout surpassed men’s, the incumbent government was re-elected, the study said.

“Empowering and safeguarding women and children, who make up 67.7% of India’s population, is vital for the country’s sustainable, equitable development and for achieving significant economic and social transformation,” it added.

In the 17th Lok Sabha, women constitute 15% of the total members, a notable increase from just 5% in the first Lok Sabha. In contrast, women represent an average of 9% in state legislative assemblies. While Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway, and South Africa have over 45% female representation in their legislatures, Japan, with 10%, falls behind India in this regard, the report said

“In 2024, women voters as a percentage of total could touch 49%, but 2029 onwards will witness women voters outpacing men voters decisively in all elections, with 2047 culminating in a 55% to 45% ratio of women to men voters,” the report said.

Nearly three decades after its initial introduction in Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, or upper House, on 21 September passed a bill with near unanimity to amend the Constitution and allow one-third quota to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strategic focus on women-centric policies, including the women’s reservation bill, cooking gas subsidies, accessible loans, and direct cash benefits, has significantly contributed to the electoral successes of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This approach was particularly effective in Madhya Pradesh in the recently concluded state assembly polls as welfare schemes targeting women were largely acknowledged as a key factor in BJP’s ability to maintain its political stronghold.

A case in point, as pointed out in the report, is the Ladli Behna scheme, which is aimed at women aged 21 to 60.

The scheme is designed to significantly improve the health and nutrition of women and their dependent children. It encourages women towards financial independence and gives them more freedom to make spending decisions based on their own priorities.

More Top Stories: