Perhaps not many can recall the strident battles over the proposed ERA (equal rights amendment), but nonetheless, women’s work equality is still a fairly recent achievement. Once inside the office, women next had to shatter the glass ceiling. Today women who want to work and succeed in business have as many opportunities to do so as men.
But women’s rights advocates may not be quite as eager to share equal status with men when it comes to alcohol abuse. Reports from abroad suggest that alcohol equality is precisely where women are headed.
First Taste Of Alcohol Starting At A Younger Age
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Center in New South Wales, Australia is finding that women are fast approaching men in terms of drinking in that country. According to the Center’s research, Australian women born between 1953 and 1962 typically did not have their first drink of alcohol until 17 years of age. That was two years behind men born at the same time. Today, however, both males and females tend to have their first taste of alcohol at the tender age of 14 years. Kids drinking younger than ever before is a separate and equally distressing trend.
The Australian researchers learned that from 1997 to 2007 the number of females who were exhibiting signs of alcohol abuse went up an alarming 27,000. At the same time that more Australian women are drinking, figures show that fewer women (compared to men) are seeking out help for their habit. The good news is that Aussies today are looking for help/treatment sooner compared to prior generations. However, today it is young men who are more apt than young women to admit their problem and look for help.
Women’s Body Size And The Effects Of Alcohol
Many in Australia complain that the perceived social norms surrounding drinking harm women. Since women are generally smaller and have less body weight, a woman will feel the ill effects of alcohol far sooner than a man. Women not only get drunk quicker, they are also more vulnerable to alcohol abuse as a result. That definitely appears to be what is happening on the island nation.
Back in North America, Canadians are talking about a similar problem. Concerned experts there are saying that it was great to see smoking fall by the wayside as an unhealthy habit, but overconsumption of alcohol seems to be filling the gap left behind. At a recent conference many commented on the parallels between past marketing of cigarettes to women and then children with current trends in alcohol marketing. Ads are promoting alcohol to women the way they once did with tobacco.
Media And Alcohol Advertising
Canadians are clamoring for government intervention similar to measures taken in the U.K. where sales, pricing and advertising are controlled to curb the unwanted trends of more female problem drinkers and a wave of younger drinkers. But the problems are not only abroad. Here in the U.S. studies are revealing that alcohol advertising is reaching a young audience more frequently than an older one. Women here may be soon filling as many hospital beds as men with alcohol-related health problems like liver disease. Not the sort of equality women were probably hoping to achieve.
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