Contrary to some feminists’ claims, men and women are NOT created equal, at least as far as the effects of alcohol drinking is concerned. Women who want to protest this particular inequality are up against data and statistics that unanimously support the hypothesis.
In the United States, statistics on women drinking alcohol in recent years (2010 – 2012) are hard to come by. What is certain is that men still outnumber the women in the level of alcohol consumption and frequency of intake.
Of the women drinking alcoholic beverages, more than fifty percent belong to the managerial level in the workplace. Alarming though is the data showing an increase in the number of women who have been charged with DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated.) In 2011, of the number of arrests made for DWI, nearly 25 percent were female.
According to law firm Tad Nelson & Associates of Houston, DUI/DWI “laws and detection techniques are constantly changing,” hence, the need for lawyers to keep up with these changes to be able to defend clients capably. Aside from the potential DWI arrest and charge, binge drinking women are more prone to sexual assault, especially younger women in college campuses. Alcohol use in women has also been linked to a higher rate of suicide than in women who don’t drink.
Legal matters aside, women who drink incur more health risks than men. Here are the potential health hazards for alcohol-imbibing females:
- Women who binge drink (4 or more drinks on one occasion, within 2 hours)are more likely to have unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners, leading to unintended pregnancies and the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
- Increase in breast cancer incidence.
- Women alcoholics suffer from cardiomyopathy more than men alcoholics.
- Women who drink during pregnancy increase their risk of having babies with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome (FASD,) characterized by mental retardation and birth defects.
- Women’s brains are more susceptible to alcohol than men’s, resulting in memory loss and brain shrinkage.
- Women who drink are more at risk for liver-related diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer.
Studies into the increase in the number of women who drink are based more on anecdotal evidence than scientific research. Surveys, interviews and behavioral analysis showed the following:
- Teenage girls drink to be in with the crowd and to be seen as cool.
- Younger women feel they should be as much empowered as men are.
- Younger women feel the need for gender equality in all aspects, including being able to drink.
- Older women and working women drink to cope with stress at work.
- Older women and housewives drink because they are stressed with housework and bringing up the children and because they are bored.
- Women working in male-dominated industries feel the pressure to socialize by drinking.
- Women drinking alcohol is acceptable now than it was a few decades ago.
Equality for women in the workplace and at the home front is an encouraging sign for female emancipation. Sadly, where alcohol intake is concerned, women cannot change their biological structure. Less water and more fats in the female bodies make women more vulnerable to alcohol’s deadly effects in the legal, health and crime arenas. It is the smart woman who accepts her limitations without feeling less of a person for it.
Marie Miller advocates for women’s equality and writes about relationships, dating and marriage. She has a particular interest in federal and state laws that affect women and children.