CHIANGRAI TIMES – In a recent survey conducted by the Community Soul Foundation of 400 women aged 25 to 60 in five north-eastern provinces, some 59.3 per cent said they consume beer and rice liquor regularly, with many admitting to having started drinking at the age 16.
“A shocking finding was that women aged between 50 to 60 years drink every morning and night without caring about the impact on their health,” said Supgaphon Thingsu, director of the foundation.
The survey’s results were revealed at a seminar on reducing alcohol consumption in Thailand held in Bangkok recently. The seminar concluded that north-eastern women drink because booze is readily available in rural areas and getting drunk might be a means of expressing themselves in Thailand’s male-dominated society.
Most like drinking beer and lao khao, or white liquor, which is most popular among the elderly, especially during parties and cultural events, according to the poll, which was highlighted at a seminar on a campaign for reducing alcohol consumption among women at the Rajvithi Home for Girls in Bangkok.
The intake of 9.6 grams of alcohol a day can lead to alcoholism and greater amounts can put drinkers at high risk of accidents, said Ms Suphaphon.
Also, most cases of violence in families result from alcohol abuse.
A women’s rights advocate linked the alcohol addiction to Thailand’s male-dominated society. Many upcountry women have small roles and almost no means for social expression. As a result, they drink alcohol to help “release pressure” during celebrations, considered as their space for expression, said Chadet Chaowilai, director of the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation.
He called on the Public Health and Social Development and Human Security ministries to provide venues for women to complain, express their views and initiate creative activities.
“Even urban women tend to drink more and we need to find the root cause of the problem,” Jaded Chouwilai of the Women and Men Progressive Movement told the seminar.