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Yes or No, the female vote is vital to outcome

Well it's just very nice to feel wanted.

Wooed, even. How flattering to be the target of so many ardent suitors. This is a good moment to be a woman elector, because your country needs you. And bits of it are gearing up to make sure you know it; not even to mention tickling your erogenous voting zones with flattering regularity.

I've always been a mite dismissive of the term "women's vote". It makes 52% of the population sound like a lumpen polletariate programmed to react to the canvassing classes in a manner that makes Pavlov's dug seem positively anarchic.

Surely Scottish womanhood in all its wondrous diversity can't be that predictable or prone to plight their electoral troth like a monstrous regiment of robotic females.

Well, as was pithily observed in quite another context, mebbes aye and mebbes naw. Listening to pollsters and the amalgamated union of focus groupies it seems it's not that women are a voting bloc as such; rather that they come to their conclusion about how to vote in a quite different way.

If we are to believe those who spend their days and just possibly their nights toiling at the referendum coalface, it is men who are most likely to be swayed by emotion and instinct. And it is women (whilst they will have their own party preferences including none of the above, thank you) who will be generally more cautious, generally more likely to interrogate what's on offer at more length, and generally prone to delay their decision longer.

This is why female undecideds are considered a crucial factor.

Both referendum camps are aware that there is little difference in the headline issues that motivate voters of both sexes. The economy, employment and health are perennial concerns.

But there are nuances in how these issues play out. Women, often quite literally holding the purse strings, look at economic issues in a much more personalised way. After all, when the solid matter engages with the cooling apparatus it is often they who have to find ways of keeping the domestic show on an even keel.

That's why the UK Government's welfare reforms are thought to have impacted disproportionately on women, given their statistical preponderance in the ranks of carers and part-time workers or their being engaged in low-wage sectors. And it's also why welfare is, as they say, a hot-button issue. Women who have been hit in their family's pockets have to believe that independence will bring them protection from the chill winds of Westminster-devised penalties before they will opt to let a Scottish government of whatever colour extend its control to full independence.

And it's why the Yes campaigns are making sure all their literature spells out the benefits for families, while the No variety are urging hanging on to the UK nurse for fear of something worse. A scare a day keeps self confidence at bay.

Tomorrow, Women for Independence launch the first of four videos, featuring 20 women from most of Scotland's social spectrum. Interestingly, it doesn't urge viewers to vote Yes, but to consider how important it is to vote in terms of their future. This particular group took a decision to run their own separate campaign because, they say, it's not just about women in an independent country; it's about women and personal independence.

And come Saturday, International Women's Day, they will be setting out their stalls up and down the land. Their counterparts have chosen to make their pitch from under the Better Together umbrella.

For there is still much to play for. The latest poll from Ipsos Mori suggested, as all have, that many more men than women have declared for Yes. The question is whether or not that will erode in the weeks and months to come.

Ipsos Mori tracking suggests it might well. Last September the gap was 16%; in December it was 14%; and last month it was 11%.

And this reflects the trends in the last Scottish Holyrood election where the gap between male and female voting patterns narrowed in all parties bar the Tories. Theirs was, ahem, quite a small sample.

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