Print Edition - 2017-09-19 | News
High women participation
Sep 19, 2017-
Participant of female voters was remarkable during the third phase local polls in Province 2.
The official data is yet to come out, but the scene at the polling centres on Monday indicated that female voters outnumbered their male counterparts.
Birendra Prasad Sah, associate professor of Thakur Ram Multiple Campus, said that more women participated in the elections because the new constitution has ensured greater women representation at local units.
According to the Local Level Election Act-2015, every village council and municipal council has to elect at least four woman representatives, while political parties should guarantee 50 per cent women candidates for the posts of either chairperson or vice-chairperson of the village council, mayor or deputy mayor of the municipal council and chief and deputy chief of the District Coordination Committee.
“Female voters were encouraged to go to the polling centres because of female candidates. They were also swayed after seeing the participation of many women in the election campaigns. It all boils down to the new constitution that has given greater rights and representation to women,” said Sah.
Kumari Yadav, a 27-year-old voter from Birgunj Metropolis-27, said she was pleased and proud to have exercised her franchise as a woman. “I am very happy to cast my vote this time. I hope the candidate who wins the election will develop our area,” she said.
The fact that a large number of male voters in Province 2 are working overseas and in other parts of the country is also a telling factor as to why fewer male voters were seen at the voting centres on Monday.
Raj Kishor Yadav, another Birgunj voter, said if only the government had announced a public holiday for the election in other provinces as well, there would have been more male voter turnout.
“Many men of voting age are working in other prats of the country or abroad. Those men working in other provinces of the country would have come to vote if only they had a holiday today,” he said.
The gender-wise gap in voter turnout was the same in other districts of Province 2 as well.
Mahesh Kumar Thakur, the chief of Saptari District Election Office, said a significant number of young population in the district were either abroad or in other parts of the country for employment, which resulted in low turnout of male voters in the election.
“But that is not to say that female voter turnout was not significant. The overall voter turnout stands proof to that. We have had over 70 per cent voter turnout,” he said.
Women right activist Krishna Basnet said the election environment was starkly different in Madhes this time in that there was a remarkable presence of women voters, both young and old, at the voting centres. “Women in Madhes, who have been generally described with words like reserved and reticent, have shattered that stereotype by showing up to vote. They feel empowered and encouraged by the provision of woman representatives at local units,” said Basnet.
The spirit and number of woman voters in Bara was high as they queued at their voting centres on Monday.
They said women’s voices were rarely heard, and for many of them the number of female candidates acted as impetus to bring them to the polling stations.
“We are happy that there is a good representation of woman candidates in local level elections. We expect them to work towards women’s issues,” said Sunita Devi, a voter in Kalaiya Sub-metropolis 15.
(With inputs from local correspondents in Province 2)
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Published: 19-09-2017 08:07