Invisible Citizens: Why More Women in Pakistan Do Not VotePublished - Apr 1, 2019
This paper uses qualitative fieldwork undertaken in Lahore over 2017–18 to understand what enables or constrains women’s decision to turn out to vote. Standard explanations for Pakistan’s large gender gap in political participation highlight overt restrictions imposed on women voters by male family and community members. We do not believe that these explanations are complete and look instead at more subtle processes that socialise women into non-political roles, and result in a ‘gendered psyche’ that makes women feel invisible and irrelevant to the electoral process. Constraints resulting from political engagement are usually underemphasised in academic and policy literature, and analysing their importance is a major contribution of this paper.