LAHORE: The Election Commission in Punjab claims to have reduced the gender gap among male and female voters down to eight per cent through its awareness-raising campaign.

The difference in registration of male and female voters was 12pc before the 2018 general election which has now been brought down by 4pc to 8pc, Joint Provincial Election Commissioner, Punjab, Saeen Bakhsh Chunnar told a meeting on Gender and Disability Electoral Working Group held here on Wednesday.

He said civil society organisations (CSOs) supported the election commission’s campaign for bridging the gap between male and female voters.

He said for the development of society it is necessary to provide equal opportunities to all people in social activities and especially in the electoral process discrimination against anyone on the basis of gender must be eliminated.

He said there are still some districts and constituencies in the province which have more than 10pc gender gap. For this the ECP and CSOs should continue to cooperate with each other.

He said a special NIC/voter registration campaign is also under way in eight districts of Punjab with the support of Nadra and development partners. He hoped that soon they would be able to reduce the gender gap in all districts and constituencies.

He further informed that the women voter turnout in the recently held by-elections in the province testified that the participation of women in the electoral process is gradually improving.

The ECP has taken various measures during this time to ensure that women, persons with disabilities, transgender community, religious minorities and other sections exercise their right to franchise in a convenient and conducive electoral environment, he added.

The representatives of the CSOs present in the meeting appreciated the ECP efforts and offered suggestions to ensure that the election process is more inclusive. They assured their cooperation to the ECP in every effort for raising awareness among the public, especially women, transgender community, persons with disabilities and minorities about the importance of voting.

CSOs’ representatives included Riffat Malik, Gul Mehar, Shehzad Haider, Sobia Qadir, Ayesha Malik and Isma Amer.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022

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