Women Voters in Indian Democracy: A Silent Revolution
28 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2013 Last revised: 12 Mar 2016
Date Written: June 27, 2013
We document the political participation of women in Indian democracy by comparing the turnout of women voters to men in the state elections from 1962 till 2012. Our analysis reveals striking findings: (1) There is a steady and a sharp decline in the gender bias in voting over time. In particular, we find that the sex ratio of voters (the number of women voters to every 1000 men voters) increased very impressively from 715 in the 1960s to 883 in the 2000s. (2) This phenomenon of declining gender bias in voting is across all the states, including the traditionally backward “BIMARU” states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. (3) This decline is solely driven by the dramatic increase in women participation in the elections since the 1990s, while men participation has remained unchanged. (4) We also find evidence that women voters are agents of change - they vote differently from men and affect re-election prospects.
Keywords: Voters, Gender inequality, Democracy, Re-election
JEL Classification: D63, D72, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation