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India’s missing women voters

Even though fair elections are held at regular intervals for state assemblies and parliament, they

do not reflect a fair picture of equal participation of voters, especially a large number of women



The word “ missing women” was coined by Amartya Sen when he showed that in parts of the

developing world, the ratio of women to men in the population is suspiciously low. This can be

ascertained by the help of the staggering sex ratio ( number of females per 1000 males) in

countries such as India and China which reflected the gross neglect of women in voting.


Although the 2022 state assembly election witnessed an attractive women's vote count, there

were still a large number of them that did not vote. Women's voter turnout in Uttar Pradesh

exceeded that of men, though the overall turnout, as well as the female voting percentage, was

lower than in the 2017 election. In Uttar Pradesh, as many as 62.24% of the women electorate cast

their vote higher than men who clocked a voting percentage of 59,56% but lower than the

63.38% female turnout was recorded in 2017 polls.


In the 2022 election, the overall voter turnout was the highest in Amroha (72.27%) district and the

lowest in Balrampur (49.12%). Several women voters were missing from the U.P assembly

elections due to various reasons. A large number of them had migrated to other states

preferably Delhi and NCR, Bihar, and Rajasthan on account of pandemic-related migration. They

did not have time and money to return to their villages to vote.


In 70 years of Indian democracy, the absolute number of missing women has increased fourfold

from 15 million to 68 million. This is not merely a reflection of the growth in the overall

population, but rather of the fact that this dangerous trend has worsened with time as the

number of female electorates, and missing women has gone up significantly.


Not all women who are eligible to vote in Indian elections are registered to vote and are

therefore missing from the electoral list. It is due to this reason that competitive electoral

processes can perpetuate gender-biased policies in India. In the presence of missing women

whose consent cannot be taken into account in the electoral process, democracy will fail to

deliver policies that promote women’s welfare.


Even though a higher percentage of female voters go to the polls, there is a significant gender

imbalance in India’s general population. According to the country’s 2011 census, the country has

approximately 943 women for every 1000 men. This places India near the bottom at 186 out of

194 countries, according to the world bank. The sex ratio among registered voters is even

worse. There are only 908 women for every 1000 men on the country’s voter rolls. This means

that despite progress, Indian women suffer a double -blow at the polls.


If taken across the country, three states – Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan-

accounted for more than half of the missing female voters. More than 20 million missing women

, 30,000 women voters on average in every constituency go missing. Although the

election commission adopts measures to ensure women's vote inclusion by doorstep verification

, a substantial number of officers involved, state TV and radio programs motivate women to

register, and several polling stations dedicated exclusively to women, despite this many women

voters are left out. A shift of residence after marriage, refusal to provide photographs of women to

officers to publish in voters lost are some of the reasons.



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