Women now drink as much alcohol as men, if not more
I mean, equality in a way. I guess
Young women are now boozing as much if not more than men – and are suffering the health consequences, warns new research.
The study shows that the number of women who drink alcohol has been steadily on the rise for the past 60 years – with those under the age of 35 may now be drinking more than their male peers.
Historically, men were far more likely to drink alcohol and to drink it in quantities that damaged their health, with some figures suggesting up to a 12-fold difference between the sexes. But now evidence is beginning to emerge that suggests this gap is narrowing, according to researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Study author Dr Tim Slade, from the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, said: “Alcohol use and alcohol use disorders have historically been viewed as a male phenomenon. The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women in particular should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms.”
Men born between 1891 and 1910 were twice as likely as their female peers to drink alcohol but this had almost reached parity among those born between 1991 and 2000. Woman born from 1966 onwards were responsible for the steepest rise in female drinking, but ‘sex convergence’ is most evident in young adults, according to the research.
Pooled data, from a total sample size of more than four million, showed that the gap between the sexes consistently narrowed across three categories of drinking – any use, problematic use, and use that caused harm over time. Out of the 42 studies showing evidence for the gender gap closing, most of them proved this was driven by women drinking more, as opposed to men drinking less.
Five per cent of the sex ratios were less than one, suggesting that women born after 1981 may actually be drinking more than their male peers. The calculations used were not designed to address whether alcohol use is falling among men or rising among women, nor did the team set out to explain the reasons behind their observed findings.
Dr Slade added: “The results have implications for the framing and targeting of alcohol use prevention and intervention programmes.”