Women Now Drink as Much as Men. Good! Crack Open the Champagne

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By Charlotte Gill | 7:35 am, October 31, 2016

I know I drink too much. I worked this out a few months ago in a falafel shop. While waiting for my order, a gang with massive knives came in. They threatened the staff, and then ran away. I stared and didn’t do anything.

The next day I thought I better call the police. “Why didn’t you ring us yesterday?” the officer asked.

“Dunno”, I mumbled. But I did know: I wanted my falafel, and had ruined my fight or flight reflex with champagne.

It’s no wonder I got so drunk that night – I was with my girlfriends, and like so many women our age, we had a lot to drink.

Not so long ago, women were not big drinkers -but things have changed. In fact, a newly published study suggests that women born after 1991 have actually reached gender parity when it comes to boozing.

Everyone’s extremely worried about this research – after all, alcohol isn’t good for your health – and may screw up your reflexes in fraught falafel shops. Experts blame our excessive drinking on the rise of sugary drinks, and better-targeted advertising.

But can we all calm down. If we want true gender equality between men and women, we must recognise that it isn’t limited to university admissions, the boardroom and pay packets. It covers alcohol habits too.

In fact, I think this drinking parity proves that women are now the more exciting sex. Higher alcohol consumption doesn’t signal doom and gloom – it shows that we’re having a good time while the men stay home.

Indeed, drinking often goes hand in hand with professional success. For example, the Office for National Statistics showed in 2011 that women in management and professional jobs are some of the biggest drinkers.

That’s not because they’re stressed out; it’s because they’ve been wining and dining – a hallmark of their advancement in the workplace.

And when we’re not drinking with clients, we’re clinking glasses with each other, celebrating the freedoms that our foremothers were denied: being able to go out later, postpone motherhood, and dance in clubs until the break of dawn.

Whatever you think of the research, it’s no use shoving health campaigns in our faces – telling us to cut down. We’ve had them for years, and they have clearly made little difference. Perhaps we’re having too much fun to notice.

If anyone’s going to stop us drinking as much, they’ll have to invent something more fun than alcohol. Which is hard, isn’t it, in big cities – where it’s the main social activity.

Despite my falafel experience, you can’t stop me enjoying a drink, or for that matter a bottle.

As Camille Paglia has said, there’s a sort of liberty to risking danger. In the past, women were told to be home at a sensible hours – by their parents, and even universities.

The fact that we’re out and about more – despite the drawbacks – is a testament to the progression of our rights.