- In the early 1900s, men were 2.2 times as likely as women to drink alcohol at all.
- For those born towards the end of the century, men were only 1.1 times as likely as women to drink at all.
- The closing male-female gap is most evident among young adults.
As this is a global study, the answers as to why this is happening don't lie in the British context alone, but it isn't unreasonable to suggest that factors may include the increasing availability of alcohol, and the fact that alcohol advertising is often targeted specifically at women, especially young women.
Predictably, Alcohol Concern states that this trend shows the need for mandatory health warnings on alcohol products and a mass media campaign to raise awareness, while the Portman Group points out that "Official data shows significant declines in women's alcohol consumption, frequency of drinking and binge-drinking rates over the last decade."
The latter point is supported by the fact that overall alcohol consumption has been in decline in the UK for a number of years now. The only conclusion I can be certain about is that if this trend continues, women will probably overtake men in the not too distant future.