11.7m women added to voter list, but vast gender gap remains

Published September 20, 2023
In this file photo, a female voter casts her ballot at a polling station during the by-election for National Assembly seats, in Karachi. — AFP/File
In this file photo, a female voter casts her ballot at a polling station during the by-election for National Assembly seats, in Karachi. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The gender gap among voters has reduced with the addition of 11.74 million women, compared to 9.28m male voters, to the electoral rolls since 2018 general elections, bringing the total number of registered voters in the country to around 127m from the erstwhile 106m.

The latest statistics released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday showed that the difference between men and women of voting age stands at around 10m in the country, where women make up 49pc of the population.

More than 21m voters have been added to the ele­c­toral rolls since the last ge­n­eral elections, as the number of women jumped from 46.73m in 2018 to 58.47m at present and the number of men swelled from 59.22m in 2018 to 68.50m, according to the data collected till July 25, 2023.

 Total voter count as of July 25, 2023. — ECP data
Total voter count as of July 25, 2023. — ECP data

The official data shows the number of registered voters in the country in 2018 was nearly 106m, inc­luding 59.22m men and 46.73m women voters. This difference of 12.49m, however, further increa­sed to an all-time high of 12.72m next year when 62.55m men and 49.83m women were eligible to cast vote.

A major drop in the gender gap was witnessed last year when the total number of registered male voters fell from 66.50m to 66.40m, while the number of women jumped from 54.69m to 55.78m.

According to latest data the gap has slid further to touch 10.03m, with the number of men and women increasing to 68.50m (54 per cent) and 58.47m (46pc), respectively.

 Gender-wise breakdown of voter count as of July 25, 2023. — ECP data
Gender-wise breakdown of voter count as of July 25, 2023. — ECP data

An age-wise comparison of the latest figures shows there are around 57.1m youth aged between 18 and 35, making up 45pc of those who are eligible to vote. In addition, the number of voters in the age bracket of 36 to 45 years comes to 27.79m (21.88pc). If seen together, the two age groups comprise 84.81m voters, or two-thirds of the total 127m.

 Age-wise breakdown of voter count as of July 25, 2023. — ECP data
Age-wise breakdown of voter count as of July 25, 2023. — ECP data

Punjab residents make up the largest chunk of eligible voters — 72.31m (56.9pc) of all voters — while Balochistan with 5.28m makes up 4.2pc of all registered voters.

Sindh ranks second, contributing 26.65m voters — 21pc of the total. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which now includes the merged districts of erstwhile Fata, is not far behind with almost 21.69m voters, who amount to almost 17.1pc of the total voters. Islamabad has slightly more than a million voters.

 District-wise breakdown of voter count as of July 25, 2023. — ECP data
District-wise breakdown of voter count as of July 25, 2023. — ECP data

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2023

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