Women have almost achieved equality with men … when it comes to tying one on. Looking back on the imbibing habits of more than 4 million people globally over the last 100 years or so, Aussie researchers say the ladies have closed the drinking gap with men, partly due to marketing efforts and products geared toward young women, the Guardian reports. The University of New South Wales mega-study in BMJ Open journal looked at 68 studies covering the drinking habits of subjects born between 1891 and 2001. While guys born between 1891 and 1910 were twice as likely as women to drink alcohol and three times as likely to abuse it or experience booze-related "harms", all three aspects had reached near-equal status by the time scientists got to individuals born between 1991 and 2000.
A press release calls that phenomenon "sex convergence." The study points to a bunch of cultural and economic reasons for the shift, including cheap wine and beer being readily accessible, more women working outside of the home and participating in workplace drinking events, and what the director of UK nonprofit Alcohol Concern calls a "concerted effort" by the alcohol industry to push products and brands on women. What all of this means, per the study's authors: Prevention and treatment programs need to start targeting the gals. "Women are now drinking as much as men ... and we need to be thinking about what will happen to their health as they get older," says lead author Tim Slade, per the New York Times. (Are women drinking more because of … sexism?)