Summary election data from the Election Commission show 96 lakh women aged 18-19 have been registered to vote, compared with 1.4 crore male voters

Despite a steady improvement in the sex ratio of India’s electorate, there are still more male voters being registered than female voters, newly released election data show.

Women formed just 41 per cent of first-time voters aged 18-19, though they make up 47 per cent of the population in that age group.

Summary election data released by the Election Commission on Friday show 96 lakh women aged 18-19 have been registered to vote, compared with 1.4 crore male voters. Nagaland is the only State where the newly registered female voters aged 18-19 outnumber male voters. Haryana has the most adverse sex ratio in this segment (just 28.3 per cent of the registered 18-19 year olds are female), followed by Maharashtra (35.5 per cent) and Punjab, Chandigarh and Gujarat (36.2 per cent).

Historically skewed

The sex ratio of the electorate has historically been skewed in favour of men, though this is beginning to change a little with time. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, women registered voters outnumbered male registered voters in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Puducherry, The Hindu’s analysis of election data shows.

The Election Commission consulted census data on sex ratios to identify areas in which the electorate sex ratio diverged sharply from the general sex ratio, said a senior official, who asked not to be named.

In Delhi, for instance, the Chief Electoral Officer found that the sex ratio of the electorate was just 788 registered women voters for every 1,000 male voters when the State Election Commission started the process in 2012. After targeting areas in which the sex ratio was too low, it brought it up to 804.

Over the past few years, however, women have shown up to vote in such large numbers that they have made up for their deficit in the list of registered voters. In three of the five States that voted in December 2013, female voter turnout outnumbered male voter turnout; in Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, the gap narrowed to its lowest ever.

Mudit Kapoor and Shamika Ravi, assistant professors at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, analysed 50 years of Election Commission data for the Assembly elections between 1962 and 2012 in 16 major States. They found that the sex ratio of voters — the number of women voters for every 1,000 men voters — improved substantially from 715 in the 1960s to 883 in the 2000s.

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