Women in Addiction: The history of women and alcohol

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Dr Moira Plant

Emeritus Professor of Alcohol Studies

Moira Plant is Emeritus Professor of Alcohol Studies at the University of West of England in Bristol UK and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University Perth Australia.  Moira’s main interests include women alcohol and mental health, drinking in pregnancy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.  She has published on these and related subjects in peer reviewed journals and books.  Moira was the UK lead on the Gender Alcohol and Culture: An International Project (GENACIS) which now includes over 40 countries worldwide.  She has acted as consultant to the World Health Organisation, the UK and other governments, the Centre for Addiction Research & Education Scotland (CARES) and is a UK consultant to the US Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD).  Moira is a psychotherapist and trains and supervises counsellors.



The presentation will explore the history of women and alcohol including issues relating to the suffragette movement.   For centuries women’s relationship with alcohol revolved around home brewing and running taverns.  In this way they were often the informal social controllers of male drinking behaviour. Over the past two decades this has begun to change as young women have been drinking more and their role as informal controllers of men’s drinking has disappeared.   Some of the implications of this change in women’s drinking will be addressed.   Examples of alcohol-related physical harm specific to women, including drinking during pregnancy, will be described.   The development of alcohol advertising targeted at women will be also be discussed briefly.

The work of the Gender Alcohol and Culture: An International Study (GENACIS) will be described including how this study has played a key role in highlighting the importance of international collaborations.

Before retiring Moira’s work was funded by the World Health Organisation, the Welcome Trust, the European Union, the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a number of charities, the beverage alcohol industry and the UK government.


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