The female voter turnout was as high as 69.52% in the 2012 assembly polls, slid to 66.11% in 2017 and has dropped to 61.75% in the 2022 assembly polls, as per data gathered from the Election Commission’s Gujarat machinery. Totally, 61.75% women voted in the Gujarat polls vis a vis 66.74% men.
In contrast, the woman voter turnout in Himachal, which went to polls along with Gujarat, was 4.4 percentage points more than the male turnout.
As per 2022 figures accessed by ET, the female voter turnout is significantly lower than the male turnout in Ahmedabad, Surendranagar, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Morbi, Jamnagar, Devbhumi Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagadh, Kheda, Amreli and Botad among others.
The gender gap, which incidentally is being covered and even surpassed in several other states, seems to be growing in Gujarat.
ECI officials told ET that they will be assessing the underlying factors for the same and have focussed on constituencies with lower female turnout.
In 2012, the gender gap in turnout between male and female voters was 3.5 percentage points. It increased to 4.43 percentage points in the 2017 assembly polls. In the 2022 assembly polls, the gender gap has moved up to 4.99 percentage points. Gujarat’s gender gap in voter turnout touched a high of 6.19 percentage points in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when the overall national female voter turnout had registered a robust increase and finally closed the gender gap in India.
In fact, the female voter turnout surpassed that of males in the March round of assembly elections as well in UP, Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand, and was marginally behind in Punjab.
Women turnout was 62.2% in UP against 59.6% for men, 67.6% and 62.6% for women and men respectively in Uttarakhand, 81% and 78% for women and men in Manipur. In Goa, it was 90.5% for women and 87.9% for men.
Bihar has seen the female voter turnout surpass that of men since 2010 and the Nitish Kumar led Janata Dal (United)’s electoral success is often credited to the woman voter – also seen as a key beneficiary of welfare schemes.
The woman voter, in fact, has turned into a unique constituency of sorts across states. Electoral promises by almost all political parties now specifically address the woman voter – from promising cycles and scholarships for girl children to marriage expense grants, free transportation to even reservations of seats.