Women Voters in Indian Democracy: A Silent Revolution

28 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2013 Last revised: 12 Mar 2016

See all articles by Mudit Kapoor

Mudit Kapoor

Indian School of Business

Shamika Ravi

ORF; Brookings Institution

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

Kapoor, Mudit and Ravi, Shamika, Women Voters in Indian Democracy: A Silent Revolution (June 27, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2231026 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2231026

Mudit Kapoor

Indian School of Business ( email )

Hyderabad, Gachibowli 500 019

Shamika Ravi (Contact Author)

ORF ( email )

New Delhi
New Delhi

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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