Quick: How much booze do you drink in a week? You probably don't know the answer off the top of your head, but chances are the doctor asks you that question every time you go in for an annual checkup or visit a specialist. And chances are, if you're a woman, the number of alcoholic drinks you consume in a week is much higher than what your mom drank. Because for the first time since science kept tabs on such things, women are drinking nearly as much as men.
As a new study conducted by researchers at Columbia University and Australia’s University of New South Wales has found, the alcohol gap between men and women is, well, not a gap anymore.
As The Atlantic reports, the research analyzed studies of more than a million people in 36 countries, spanning from 1948 to 2014, and found that rates of booze drinking were about equal between men and women born between 1991 and 2000. Before that, men drank at twice the rate of women. Women were less likely to binge-drink, and more likely to abstain from booze altogether.
Now? Women have come so close to catching up to men in their boozing habits that the difference in behavior is minimal. One factor is that while women have continued to drink more in the last decade, men's booze consumption habits have stayed about the same. The Atlantic also reports that a century ago, men were much more likely than women to have a drinking problem, while today, alcoholism is basically split 50/50 between the sexes.
So what's going on? Lots of factors. “When women improve their education, employment, and status,” as the alcohol and gender experts Sharon and Richard Wilsnack of the University of Dakota told The Atlantic, “they are likely also to have more opportunities to drink.” Alcohol is being aggressively marketed to women now too (um, hooray for gender equality?) and it's cheaper overall, and there's also the fact that more women are delaying motherhood.
Plus...is there perhaps a link between the reality that women are still getting paid less than men for the same hard work, and the fact that they're drinking more?
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