According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 14% of Australians reported increased use of alcohol in the previous month. Thus, on face value, alcohol consumption remained almost stable. However, what this 14% increase doesn’t show is the gendered aspect of this increase. Women in Australia have increased their alcohol consumption during the pandemic, even more so than men.
Director of the National Drugs and Alcohol Research Centre Professor Michael Farrell said there was no doubt alcohol consumption would increase, particularly when there was increased pressure at home.
“It’s a time of great social anxiety and stress,” he said.
“Being in a confined environment, being under stress and maybe having concerns around one’s future, financials, security or work — these are all factors that pose considerable risk for vulnerable people.
“People use alcohol to reduce stress, but heavy drinking also results in anxiety, so you get it working in both directions.”
WHY ARE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN CONSUMING MORE ALCOHOL?
A survey focusing on mental health during the pandemic studied the behavior of 1200 Australians in relation to alcohol consumption. It discovered that 31.8% of women had increased their alcohol consumption, as opposed to 22.5% men.
Various factors have contributed to this increase. For starters, global trends indicate that the difference between alcohol consumption in men and women is decreasing. This is because alcohol consumption among women has increased in the past decade.
Other factors leading to this increase pertain to mental health.
Data proved that 28% of Australian women were facing severe loneliness during the lockdowns. This figure was only 16% when it came to men.
The pandemic has also led to an increase in the workload for mothers, having to care for their families 24×7. This is being termed as caregiver load. Women are nearly 3x more likely to be carrying this burden.
International data also shows women have been more likely to experience symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression during the pandemic.