Rashi Aditi Ghosh/Zee Research Group
As India celebrates the overall robust 10 per cent plus increase in women voter turnout comes the bad news that the states with highest women voters actually registered a relatively lower turnout.
These states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar. The actual women turn out in all these states was below 60 per cent. The national women turnout in 2014 has been pegged at 65.31 per cent.
UP, which has the highest women electorate at 6.2 crore, observed 57.4 per cent women voter turnout. The trend persisted in Maharashtra, the second most women electorate state (3.7 crore), with women voter turnout pegged this time populous state 57.9.
Bihar with a women electorate of 2.9 crore (fifth most) observed a 57.6 percent women turnout.
As a matter of fact the overall voter turnout in Uttar Pradesh (58.3 percent), Maharashtra (60.3 percent) and Bihar (56.2 percent) too has been lower than the national average of 65 percent.
The notable exception to the trend when it comes to women electorate versus actual voter turnout is Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. These two states are third and fourth in rank of women electorate in the country but both experienced a 70 percent plus women voter turnout.
Jammu and Kashmir that stands at number 20 in terms of women electorate reported lowest women voter turnout (48.21 per cent) during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
However, the good news is that female voter turnout (in percentage) was higher than male turnout in 16 States and UTs.
The win percentage for women candidates continues to pose a challenge. In all 668 women candidates contested during 16th Lok Sabha elections out of which merely 61 (9.13) emerged victorious.
During 2014 Lok Sabha elections out of 1325 fielded candidates by the three major political parties (Congress, BJP, and AAP) just about 12 per cent happened to be women.
While INC fielded the highest (60) women candidates, AAP announced 59 female candidates for 2014 polls and the saffron party selected only 38 women candidates.