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).
MEN, WOMEN AND ALCOHOL IN SCOTLAND
INFOGRAPHIC 1:WHY DO STEREOTYPES ABOUT GENDER AND DRINKING PERSIST?
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.
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 (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
STATISTICS: Alcohol related hospital admissions are around three times more common in men than in women in Scotland (2015/2016) http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Drugs-and-Alcohol-Misuse/Publications/2016-10-25/visualisation.asp
Men 17.2 v Women 8.7 Average alcohol units consumed by male drinkers vs female drinkers per week in Scotland in 2015 (Gray and Leyland 2016) http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/09/2764
Alcohol-related deaths in men are DOUBLE that of women in Scotland (2015) https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/deaths/alcohol-related-deaths
INFOGRAPHIC 2: WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?
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).