The district-wise voters’ data shows that the disparity in figures for men and women registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is not a problem of some remote districts only.The gap between men and women voters is highest in the Punjab’s provincial capital. Lahore and 16 other districts of the province figure in the top 20 districts with the largest gender gap in registered voters.The number of registered voters in 2013 was 86.24 — 48.6m of them were men and 37.63m women. In 2015, the ECP analysis shows, the number of voters has increased to 96.06m, out of which, 52.36m were men and 40.7m female voters.The 12 million gap between men and women voters must not be taken lightly. After the ECP, political parties need to take the lead in bridging the gap. Strengthening of democratic norms and practices in the country will remain an illusion without an active participation of women in the electoral process.In the past one decade, we have had many political gathering where women participated in large numbers. Except for a few religious parties, all mainstream parties seem to be in agreement on the principle that women’s participation in the electoral process needs to be facilitated. The need now is to translate these principled agreements into concrete measures to help bridge the 12 million gender gap. The latest Election Reforms Act also includes some provisions in this regard. Beyond that, a governmental intervention is needed immediately so campaigns encouraging women to register as voters can be started. All political parties should work towards their responsibility of ensuring that all eligible women are registered as voters before the upcoming general elections. For these campaigns to affected, the authorities in the cities with the highest gap must ascertain if the problem is limited to a few constituencies or if it is spread out across the board. Once this is done, the relevant areas can then be targeted. *Published in Daily Times, November 14th 2017.