A striking fact mentioned in the WHO study refers to the increased consumption of alcohol among Indian women, which the study terms as a 'steady and silent contributor'.
More women in India are drinking alcohol than before. A recent study points to a significant increase in the percentage of female drinkers in India. In fact, a WHO study between the years 2010 and 2017 indicate that the consumption of alcohol in India has increased by a whopping 38%. A striking fact mentioned in the WHO study refers to the increased consumption of alcohol among Indian women, which the study terms as a ‘steady and silent contributor’.
Given that Indian women were earlier considered to be abstainers, this marks a social shift in terms of lifestyle choices as well. But this is also a ‘gray’ area of sorts as prevalent fault lines continue to pose barriers in public spaces for women who want to enjoy a drink without being judged critically.
Another recent study further establishes the WHO study and its findings. It shows that around 45 per cent women in India consume alcohol at home. These findings are highlighted in the Kantar-NFX study. which spanned seven states and received inputs from over 3,000 respondents.
The ‘Responsible drinking & Consumer Behavior’ Kantar-NFX study sheds light on the growing base of Indian women who choose to drink at home for a variety of reasons.
The fear of being judged by others in public is one among many, besides the fact that safety and convenience of public drinking places is another one. The lack of a safe and secure environment is a valid reason for many women to be wary of drinking outside.
The fact that the study notes that men usually accompany women to buy liquor is yet another indicator pointing towards a feeling of lack of safety in public spaces.
Remember, the Amitabh Bachchan-Taapsee Paanu starrer, ‘Pink’ which highlighted a biased and misogynistic interpretation that women who drink can be treated in any manner.
In a way, this film points to a greater disturbing malaise of how women’s lifestyle choices such as drinking alcohol in a restaurant can trigger violent crimes against them. The disturbing reality is that their safety is neither a priority nor a concern for any stakeholders other than their immediate families.
Given that the latest Kantar study points to why women choose to drink at home, a more broad-based and nuanced approach to creating awareness about women’s lifestyle choices can help in bridging this chasm.