While the wage gap still haunts the halls of workplaces throughout the United States, a recent study found that another gap has closed: Young women now drink as much alcohol as men.
According to The Atlantic, research teams from Columbia University and the University of New South Wales in Australia analyzed 4 million people between 1948 and 2014 worldwide and found that millennial women’s drinking habits have caught up to those of men.
The study looked at “alcohol-related harm” in addition to consumption and found that 100 years ago, men were three times as likely as women to have a dependent relationship with alcohol, whereas men and women born in the 1990s have the same odds of having a drinking problem.
According to Sharon and Richard Wilsnack, who wrote a book about alcohol and gender in 1997, one reason for women drinking more these days could be the fact that education and career opportunities are at an all-time high.
“When women improve their education, employment and status, they are likely also to have more opportunities to drink,” the Wilsnacks write.
Mainstream media has provided ample evidence to back up the research. Everywhere you turn, young women on television and in movies are having a glass or two of their drink of choice. Think MTV’s Jersey Shore, Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, Sex and the City, Scandal, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and, most recently, The Girl on the Train, in which Emily Blunt plays a divorcée who has turned to the bottle in search of comfort. Is this a step forward for feminism? Sure. The study points out that everyone can hang out at the bar together and that phrases like “drink like a man” are antiquated. Health-wise, however, it’s not doing anyone any favors. Education on drinking responsibly is as important as ever.