Women & Alcohol | Edinburgh and London-Based Seminar Series | 2017

The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) and the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) are co-hosting a four part seminar series to discuss issues relating to women and alcohol.

Each session will be chaired by an eminent academic, who will invite three guest speakers to present their personal responses to three pre-set questions, which are relevant to the topic.

These events will provide an opportunity for policy makers, academics, activists, and media representatives to critically discuss topics related to women and alcohol use. The intention is to stimulate thinking, challenge some attitudes and perceptions, and to think about future research and policy priorities.

Seminar 1: Friday, 10th March 2017

Women, Alcohol, and Globalisation.
Royal College of Physicians, London, 2 – 4pm

Chair: Dr. Cecile Knai, Associate Professor of Public Health Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

  • How does alcohol marketing influence women’s behaviours?
  • How does alcohol marketing influence attitudes towards women?
  • How does alcohol affect women in different social and cultural contexts?

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Just how useful are licensing laws for improving public health?

“Despite legal changes in Scotland, councils are struggling to use public health as an argument against new pubs and off-licences.  We need to reconsider the role of licensing in the context of other ways to achieve the same endsNiamh Fitzgerald.

What is to be done?

A war chest, to fend off legal challenges, might bolster the law and encourage local authorities to use it more ambitiously.  But, perhaps, we should also re-examine the purpose and limitations of alcohol licensing.

In an era of increasing online sales and home-drinking, what can be realistically expected from action on licensing, even with more robust legislation?  Are there better ways to wield the big three weapons of price, availability and marketing?  Raising prices via minimum unit pricing may be a more reliable policy.  Or, if the goal is to reduce the presence of alcohol in our public spaces, diminishing its cultural symbolism, then restricting advertising on bus shelters, hoardings and on television after 10pm might be much more effective (and more achievable).  All these considerations call, perhaps, for a re-evaluation of the role we envisage for alcohol licensing in pursing improved public health.

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