Noel Whelan: Abortion vote marks a gender revolution in politics

This referendum campaign will have a profound influence on public affairs

Politicians and campaigners from the 'Yes' camp arrive at the RDS to a hero's welcome. Video: Enda O'Dowd

Although a week is famously a long time in politics, it is too soon to truly understand what happened in Ireland last Friday and why. Much of the focus in the coverage after the results was predictably on the implications for the power balance between the parties and politicians already prominent in our political system. The real impact, however, will be across all parties and outside the party system altogether.

One thing which does seem clear is that this referendum marks both a gender shift and a generational shift in Irish political participation. The most striking feature of the squadrons who canvassed across April and May and the tally teams which assembled at count centres last weekend was the prevalence of young women.

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