Electoral Gender Ratio Goes up as More Delhi Women Register to Vote

The electoral gender ratio in the Capital has improved over the past eight months with more women voters registering to vote in the Delhi assembly elections scheduled for November this year.

Following a special campaign started by Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev last October, the electoral gender ratio has improved from 788 female voters to 803 per 1,000 men for the first time in many years.

Dev's office now plans to launch a major drive on July 1 to enroll more women voters in the coming months. 

"The census gender ratio in the city - 868 women per 1,000 men - is anyway poor and the electoral gender ratio is even lower. After we analysed the electoral rolls of all the 70 constituencies, which have 11,594 polling stations, we found that the number of women voters was really poor," said Dev.

Even though many parts of south and central Delhi also showed poor turnout of women, the problem of low electoral gender ratio was visible mainly in areas neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, where the social set-up was still conservative.

"In many such orthodox areas, men think it best to not let women have separate identities. Letting women have a voter's identity card might lead to them becoming independent and some even think they may ask for their right to property," explained Dev.

According to him, another problem was that women in these areas depended on their male relatives to take them to the designated booths for registering their names.

"These women are not comfortable interacting with the male officials handling the registration process," he said.

Dev has constituted teams of women officials who set up special registration camps in rural areas to encourage women to register.

"We made all-women teams and organised camps in different villages where women could come and register themselves to vote on two pre-announced dates. The first time, they could collect forms, fill these up and submit to the women officials. On the next day, they could collect their voter ID cards," said Dev.

Looking at the response of women to this campaign, the chief electoral officer and his team are now gearing up to start a drive from July to reach out to a larger number of women in the city.

"We will continue our efforts by involving NGOs. We have already identified the areas and we hope to improve the gender ratio further before the elections," Dev said.

Originally published on Mail Online India.

Photo by bokage.

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