There are differences between women and men in the prevalence of harmful alcohol consumption; in the effects of alcohol on the body; and the effectiveness of interventions to prevent or reduce alcohol related harm.  A recent study undertaken by Women’s Health Action and Alcohol Healthwatch indicates that women’s alcohol consumption is increasing and that the harmful use of alcohol is implicated in a range of poor health outcomes for women. These include reduced physical and psychological health; increased frequency and severity of violence and sexual assault; reduced capacity to parent; and greater economic vulnerability.  Because of these complex and inter-related factors, single prevention and intervention strategies to discourage harmful alcohol consumption are often inadequate and ineffective for women.  Certain populations of women may also be more vulnerable than others.

Alcohol advertising

Alcohol advertising is linked with a great deal of social harm and in particular to two significant public health issues – violence against women and increased ill effects from drinking in young women. Recent research shows that young women have increased rates of alcohol abuse which could be linked to advertising directed to young women which glamourises alcohol.  In addition the role of alcohol in intimate partner and family violence is reinforced by socially irresponsible liquor advertising that promotes negative attitudes towards women.The advertising of alcohol in Aotearoa New Zealand is voluntarily regulated by the Alcohol Industry meaning that the industry can determine the nature and content of alcohol advertising guided by the Advertising Standards Authority’s Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol.  All alcohol advertising in Aotearoa New Zealand should adhere to the principles of the Code.  Principle One of the Code states that all liquor advertisements shall observe a high standard of social responsibility.  Compliance with the Code relies on complaints from the public.  For information about the Code and how to complain about alcohol advertisements that you think may not comply with the Code.

Useful links

If you would like more information about alcohol contact: Alcohol Healthwatch »Health Promotion Agency »If you would like more information about alcohol support services:Alcohol Drug Association NZ »Alcohol Drug Help Line »