Background and Sources    

From discussions with colleagues working in alcohol policy and practice, we knew  that gender issues around alcohol were not routinely considered when developing or implementing policies. In addition, our recent research found that gender was poorly reported in systematic reviews, making it difficult to assess the intended and unintended effects of alcohol policies on men and women (Fitzgerald et al. 2016)

This convinced us of the need to develop accessible infographics to highlight stereotypes about gender and alcohol and to suggest what could be done.

Our infographics were informed by research evidence, and the sources are provided below.  (NB For information about transgender inclusion in alcohol services, please see a recent report from Scottish Trans Alliance). 



SOCIETY: Responses to men and women’s drinking reflect wider gender norms. Women are judged more harshly on their behaviour and appearance if they have consumed alcohol.  Men’s behaviour is more likely to be excused if they have been drinking.

Alcohol, Facebook & identity among young women (Lennox et al 2018)

Drunk and doubly deviant? (Lightowlers 2019)

Roles of alcohol in intimate partner abuse (Gilchrist et al 2014)


MEDIA: Men and women’s alcohol consumption is still judged differently

UK newspapers tend to associate binge drinking with women and present women’s drinking as more problematic, despite the evidence that men are more likely to binge drink 

Content analysis of UK newspapers' coverage of men and women's binge drinking (Patterson et al 2016)

ALCOHOL INDUSTRY: Drinks are marketed differently to men and to women. The alcohol industry is increasingly targeting women through gender-specific design, packaging and advertising

Alcohol companies using International women's day to sell alcohol to women (Emslie 2019)

Gendered alcohol marketing: rapid review (Atkinson et al 2019)


STATISTICS (Sources shown separately for Scotland & England: updated Dec 2019)


Alcohol consumption

Average alcohol units consumed per week by male drinkers vs female drinkers  (among those who had consumed alcohol in the last 12 months)


Scotland 16.1 units for men v 8.9 units for women (figures for 2018: table 3.1)

England 15.5 for men v 9.0 for women (figures for 2017: table 12)

Alcohol-specific deaths

Annual alcohol-specific deaths in men are DOUBLE that of women


Scotland (deaths registered in 2018; table 1)

England (deaths registered in 2018; table 1)

Hospital admissions


Alcohol-related hospital admissions in men are TWICE as common as in women in Scotland (figures for 2018 / 2019)

Alcohol-specific hospital admissions in men are TWICE as common as in women in England (figures for 2018 / 2019)


Recent evidence suggests men and women may be exposed differently to alcohol marketing (e.g. print v broadcast advertising) which is important when considering where policy should intervene (Fitzgerald et al. 2016).