Published: 25th May 2019
Elections 2019: Kerala sees a greater turnout from female voters compared to men
Nearly 80 % of female voters came out to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections in the state as against 75 % turnout of male voters
Female voters outnumber their male counterparts in 16 out of the 20 constituencies in Kerala. This points to the increasing clout of women in politics and their ability to influence the outcome of elections.
According to prominent women leaders in the state, now men or families are not able to put pressure on women to vote against their will as they have started taking their own call even when they seem to be toeing the family line.
Nearly 80 % of female voters came out to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections in the state as against 75 % turnout of male voters. As per the figures released by the Election Commission here, the overall turnout of female voters stood at 78.80 % as against 76.48 % for men.
"In Kerala, women are more politically active compared to other states. Here, it's women who decide whom to vote rather than the men in the family which was a common practice earlier," said Haritha Keralam Mission vice-chairperson T N Seema, who is also a member of the CPM state committee. "It is too early to predict on what actually influenced the female voters in this election. The Sabarimala issue cannot be cited as the sole reason for the UDF win in the state. If it was the reason, then either the BJP should have led in some constituencies or the LDF would not have won in Alappuzha," said Seema.
An increase in female literacy coupled with greater voter education has led to enhanced political awareness among women voters. Moreover, better outreach through media, social platforms, and targeted campaigns have encouraged women to go out and vote, said Lathika Subhash, president of Mahila Congress. "The Sabarimala issue and rising political violence in the state are some of the reasons which influenced women to vote against the ruling party. Also, the delay in implementing the initiatives launched by the LDF Government to help flood victims has contributed to our victory," she added.
As a result of growing electoral participation of women, the election manifestos of all political parties were peppered by promising prevention of gender-based violence and ensuring safe spaces for women and children.
"As the BJP has always stood third in the state, women voters did not want to take a chance. So they cast their votes for the UDF. But compared to previous years, the BJP was able to garner more votes. That is owing to the women-centric issues taken up by the Modi Government," said Bharathiya Vichara Kendram secretary Anjana Suresh.
"Female voters have started to voice the issues that disproportionately affect them like public safety and education which earlier had often taken a back seat owing to their historical political disengagement. The gradual emergence of women as an electoral power is an encouraging development for Indian democracy. It is likely to ensure greater focus on women-centric social issues and bring more women to the fore in electoral politics," said Lathika Subhash.