Surge in Women Voters in Haryana, India

The percentage of women participating in assembly elections has increased in Haryana, an Indian state that currently holds the worst sex ratio for voting in the country.

Haryana, known for worst sex ratio in the country, has shown signs of improvement at least in the electoral rolls where women's share has gone up for the upcoming assembly elections as against 2009.

As per data provided by the Haryana chief electoral officer (CEO), in the 2009 state assembly elections there were total of 1.31 crore voters [13.1 million voters] in Haryana, out of which 54.51% were men while women accounted for remaining 45.44%.

As per the new electoral roll released on Tuesday by the state CEO for the 2014 assembly polls, total voters have gone up to 1.61 crore [16.1 million], in which the percentage of male voters has come down to 53.84% while women have increased to 46.1% from 2009.

Improvement in number of women voters in Haryana is significant as the state is known for gender bias. According to the 2011 Census, Haryana had sex ratio of 877 women per 1,000 men against the national ratio of 943.

When asked about the increase in percentage of women voters, Haryana CEO Shrikant Walgad said considering the gender ratio issues in the state their department's thrust was to enroll more young girls and women as voters. "At the anganwari centres in 7,000 villages of the state special programmes were organized to spread awareness about voting rights of women," he added.

He also stated that there were myths in the rural areas that unmarried daughters couldn't be enrolled at their father's house since they were supposed to go to their in-laws home after getting married.

"Our officials also convinced them that a girl can be enrolled anywhere in the state and her vote could be transferred if she shifted to another place," said Walgad.

As per the registration of voters in Haryana up to July 31, Faridabad district has topped with 12.20 lakh voters [1.22 million voters] including 6.82 lakh [682'000] men and 5.38 [538'000] women. Panchkula district has the lowest number of voters in the state where out of 3.48 lakh [348'000] voters there are 1.85 lakh [185'000] men and 1.63 [163'000] women.


Originally published by The Times of India

Photo courtesy of UNDP in India

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