Wine mums: moral panic or real risk?
We’ve never paid much attention to women’s drinking, because it’s undeniable that overall in Australia, men drink much more than women. However, while most of the population has reduced their drinking over the last decade, women’s drinking has remained stable and in some age groups, even increased. This follows a 240% increase in women’s alcohol consumption in Australia from 1950-1980, compared to 36% in men. As seen in Shaun Micallef’s recent show On the Sauce, Australian women are drinking at book clubs, retirement villages, parties and gatherings.
On social media, there has been equal parts bonding and outrage over memes mocking ‘wine mums’, who need a glass of rose to take the edge off of parenting.
Research shows that women appear to be at greater risk of some chronic diseases even with lower volumes of alcohol consumption. Yet overall, women still drink a lot less and cause a small proportion of alcohol-related harms in society.
So should we be worried about women’s drinking or is this unwarranted given that a big gap still remains between women and men’s alcohol consumption? As drinking becomes more socially acceptable for women, what risks should they be aware of?
Join our expert panel of alcohol researchers from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at La Trobe University and special guest Shanna Whan from Sober in the Country as they unpack these topics and answer your questions. The event will be moderated by Rob Moodie.
Sandra is Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) at La Trobe University. Sandra also serves as Director of Research at La Trobe’s School of Psychology and Public Health and is the secretary of the Kettil Bruun Society. She is the lead researcher on the ‘Ripple’ project that aims to reduce the alcohol use of middle-aged women in the ACT. Sandra is also a deputy editor for Drug and Alcohol Review.
Shanna Whan is the CEO, founder, and force behind national charity Sober in the Country. She's a self-described ''garden variety recovered alcoholic'' who was fortunate enough to make it back from the brink of death - and chooses to use her very imperfect life and story to pay it forward and offer hope for those still in the fight. She loathes the word 'influencer' and the description of sobriety as 'trendy' because she has seen, first-hand, the life-and-death truth of this struggle for some.
She risked it all when going public after rebuilding her life from ground zero at the age of forty and going on to spend 15,000 volunteer hours in the 'trenches' to start a conversation around making it okay to say no thanks to beers in the bush.
Against all odds - today Shanna is a respected leader in the alcohol awareness space, and her conversations have become a national charity with a laser-focus on bringing 'common sense' talk and advocacy to the overlooked demographic of hard working rural, regional, and remote Australians who are more than familiar with the concept of living in ''isolation.''
Shanna travels and speaks nationally upon invitation and the SITC national charity is now aligned with the major national alcohol awareness groups and key influencers across the national alcohol space.
Cassandra is an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, based at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin and an Honorary Research Fellow at CAPR. Cassandra’s work is primarily focused on interventions and policies to reduce alcohol harms. Cassandra's PhD examined the development, testing and translation of a smartphone-delivered alcohol intervention administered during drinking events. Cassandra works with Sandra on the ‘Ripple’ project.
The event moderator will be Rob Moodie, Deputy Head of School and Professor of Public Health at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health (MSPGH), and Professor of Public Health at the College of Medicine, University of Malawi. He chairs the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research Advisory Committee.