Gender equality is happening in drinking — but study says that’s bad news for women

While the gender pay gap is closing at a frustratingly slow pace, women are catching up to men in other ways, including alcohol consumption. According to a new study from the National Institute of Health (NIH), the last decade has seen women nearly close the gendered drinking gap, almost matching men drink for drink.

According to the new study, between 2002 and 2012, the percentage of women who admitted to drinking over the course of a month increased from 44.9 percent to 48.3 percent. Meanwhile, male drinkers experienced a slight decrease in their numbers as the 57.4 percent of men who admitted to drinking in the last 30 days fell to 56.1 percent over the same decade. Over those same 30 days, women’s number of drinking days increased from 6.8 to 7.3 compared to 9.9 to 9.5 days for men.

This change could be attributed to a number of things, including growing acceptance of women who drink, but equality on the drinking front isn’t exactly good news for the fairer sex.

Because the female body metabolizes alcohol at a slower rate, women are at higher risk of developing alcohol-related diseases—including heart disease, cancer, liver inflammation, and neurotoxicity—than their male counterparts.

That said, women are still more likely than men to totally abstain from drinking (37% vs. 25%) and much less likely to engage in risky drinking behaviors like mixing alcohol with marijuana, drunk driving, and drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning.

So, ladies, continue to enjoy your margaritas—but imbibe in moderation. Your body will thank you.

(Image via Comedy Central.)

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