“The fact that we drink to excess far more often than our mothers is proof that we have passed a dubious milestone,” Gabrielle Glaser writes in her new book Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink – and How They Can Regain Control. “Forget about boys will be boys. These days, many women have taken advantage of modern equality to behave just as stupidly as men at bachelorette parties, sporting events, and girls’ nights out.”
So how much are women drinking, and what are healthy limits?
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse offers “low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines” for women who want to reduce their long-term health risks: no more than 10 drinks a week, with no more than two drinks a day, as well as two non-drinking days every week to guard against developing a habit.
Meanwhile, some 20 per cent of female drinkers in Canada engage in “risky alcohol consumption” – four or more drinks downed on a single occasion – at least once a month, according to the CCSA. That number rose between 2003 and 2010 for women, but not for men; women 25 to 34 and 45 to 64 as well as underage girls reported the most significant increases.
The consequence is showing: The number of American women arrested for drunken driving rose by 30 per cent between 1998 and 2007, Glaser writes. And a British study published earlier this month found that women born after 1970 are being diagnosed with liver disease at unheard-of rates in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester, with the number of young women succumbing to alcohol-related deaths doubling since the 1980s.