Millennial Women Drink as Much as Men, Closing Gender Gaps One Beer at a Time

Personal Health

Millennial women will likely see, and be complicit in electing, our first female president come November, and while the wage gap and gender gaps in varying fields still remains, millennial women are already mobilizing against it. But in our ongoing war against modern glass ceilings, one thing came first: for the first time ever, millennial women drink just as much as men, according to a study published Wednesday by BMJ Open. The study looked at 4 million people born between 1891 and 2001 and drew its results from the analysis of 68 international studies published between 1980 and 2014.

According to the study, for decades, men have been far more likely to drink heavily than women. Roughly one century ago, men born between 1891 and 1910 were 2.2 times as likely as women were to drink. Now, men and women born between 1991 and 2000 are drinking at a 1:1 ratio. These findings are going to be perceived a handful of ways, I’m sure, but I’m inclined to look at this, at least on some level, as a victory.

For starters, the research seems to suggest that increased rates of drinking among millennial women could be due to women having more opportunities to drink because of the improvements of their education, employment, and status. More women enroll in college than men now, while also making a solid portion of the workforce, so you know what that means.

Millennial women are officially kneeing paternalistic, patriarchal standards dictating what constitutes “proper” behavior, and it’s no longer safe to assume men will be out having a good time at bars while women will be at home, sober and taking care of the children.

Additionally, we can only hope that the proven fact that men and women drink at the same rates will contribute to shutting down some of the rape culture bullshit being pushed around these days. How can we blame issues with sexual assault disproportionately faced by women on their drinking, when they drinking at equal rates with their male counterparts? Or absolve men of responsibility for their actions due to their drinking habits when both genders drink the same amount? The study’s findings are nowhere near substantive enough to erase ingrained rape culture ideals, but they raise at least a couple questions about the current dialogue around sexual assault.

But that being said, this isn’t all good news. In the early 1900s, men were three times more likely to develop problems with alcohol than women. Today, women are just as likely to develop problems with alcohol abuse. Basically, we’re officially on the same playing field, but whether or not it’s a healthy field for any of us to be playing on is up for debate.

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