In 1962, less than half of India’s women voted. By 2014, that figure had shot up to 66 percent. This year, many expect women’s votes to outnumber men’s.
That could be a political game changer.
“Women are getting more educated, they’re more emancipated, they’re more independent,” said Prannoy Roy, a co-founder of India’s NDTV news channel and a veteran poll analyst.
Women have generally shown less support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. In 2014, if only women had voted, the B.J.P wouldn’t have won the historic majority it did in the lower house of Parliament, according to Mr. Roy, who analyzed the data for his new book, “The Verdict: Decoding India’s Elections.”
What do women care about in this election? Jobs, Mr. Roy said.
Record unemployment has hit women particularly hard. According to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, an independent think tank, of the 11 million jobs India lost in 2018, 8.8 million had been held by women.
It’s little surprise, then, that several political parties, including the B.J.P. and the Congress Party, have proposed policies specifically intended to improve the job picture for women.
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