Alcoholism in women became more prevalent after World War 2. There was a study done at the University of Washington led by Richard A. Cerucza that claimed women born from 1954 to 1963 were at greater risk for alcoholism than those born from 1944 to 1953. The study also suggested that the increase was only in White and Hispanic women not in African American women.
Some of the reasons given for this increase were that drinking was becoming more socially acceptable for women. More women were joining the workforce and attending college. Woman who were working began to have their own money as opposed to those that stayed at home and received money from their husbands. Gender stereotypes were also beginning to change which added to the increase in alcoholism. Women are more vulnerable to the effects of drinking causing greater blood levels with smaller doses.
Unfortunately the stigmatism against women alcoholics hasn’t changed much. Women who are mothers as well are frowned upon far more than men who are fathers. I think most people would agree that women are the cement that keeps the family going. If Mom isn’t doing well than the family is out of kilter. I have seen with my own alcoholism and drug abuse that when I am not sober my family seems to fall apart. I think there is more shame for the woman alcoholic than for the alcoholic man.
The good news is that woman today will seek help sooner than the women of the 1950’s. Women are seen in great numbers in Alcoholics Anonymous for example and there are many women’s meetings. Women have more choices about things and are part of the decision making in families more than ever before. Are we better off today or were we better off in the 1950’s?