WHO called 'sexist' for trying to ban drinking among women of 'childbearing age'

'Appropriate attention should be given to prevention of drinking among pregnant women and women of childbearing age,' the WHO report said


                            WHO called 'sexist' for trying to ban drinking among women of 'childbearing age'
WHO slammed after it says women of childbearing age should be banned from drinking alcohol (Photo by John Moore, Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images)
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The World Health Organization is being called sexist after its Global Alcohol Action Plan suggested that women of childbearing age should be banned from drinking alcohol.

The 2022-2030 plan in question calls on countries to raise awareness of alcohol-related harm and its harmful use. The first draft of the plan says "appropriate attention" should be given to the prevention of drinking in children, pregnant women, and women of childbearing age as alcohol is associated with increased disease, poor mental health, violence, lost productivity, and strained relationships. The plan puts particular focus on how children are impacted when exposed to alcohol while still in the womb. But instead of saying that pregnant women should be prevented from drinking alcohol, the plan urges countries to ban any woman of “child-bearing age” from doing so.

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"Appropriate attention should be given to prevention of the initiation of drinking among children and adolescents, prevention of drinking among pregnant women and women of childbearing age, and protection of people from pressures to drink," the report said, adding, "One of the most dramatic manifestations of harm to persons other than drinkers is pre-natal alcohol exposure and the development of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders."

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WHO's plan branded 'sexist and paternalistic'

Young women enjoy drinking beer out of 1-liter-mugs of beer during the opening weekend of the 2019 Oktoberfest on September 21, 2019 in Munich, Germany (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

The report instantly received backlash from Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group, the social responsibility and regulatory body for alcohol in the UK, who branded it “sexist and paternalistic”. “We are extremely concerned by the WHO calling on countries to prevent drinking among women of child-bearing age in their latest action plan. As well as being sexist and paternalistic, and potentially restricting the freedoms of most women, it goes well beyond their remit and is not rooted in science,” Lambert said. “It is wrong to scaremonger in this irresponsible way and associate women’s alcohol-related risks with those of children and pregnant people.”

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Twitter also was quick to slam WHO over the plan, with the main chunk of enraged remarks coming, understandably from women. "The WHO are advising that ALL women 'of child-bearing age' (regardless of whether they intend to conceive, are remotely interested in having children, are able to conceive, have been raped or suffered contraceptive failure) stay off alcohol. Does that seem proportionate?" one Twitter user said, while another wrote, "Trying to understand why WHO are cautioning women of child bearing age to avoid alcohol. Health risks or fetal health risks? Also why not cautioning women outside of child bearing age? Why not men? #bbcwomanshour"

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An Israeli woman tastes a red wine at the three-day 2nd International Wines Exhibition which opened February 26, 2008 in Tel Aviv (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

A third quipped, "The @WHO wants to ban #women of child bearing age from drinking alcohol - ever. Get out of our lives you over-bearing, unelected, socialist collective of despot bureaucrats." Making a reference to the dystopian drama 'The Handmaid's Tale' the next user commented, "@WHO says women of 'child bearing age' should be banned from drinking alcohol. Welcome to Gilead." One more noted, "Wtaf..... yes, when pregnant not a good idea to drink, I'd highly recommend avoiding it in that case but just because of 'child-bearing age'? What about those who don't want children? BANNED. What about blokes? Alcohol can effect swimmers too ya know!! Fucking crazy talk."

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A commenter tweeted, "WHO already trying to stop child bearing age women having alcohol. They'll be micromanaging every aspect of our life soon." Another remarked, "Screw you @WHO - how about tackling some of the real problems facing women and girls in countries where they don't drink alcohol - forced marriage, FGM, honour killings, female infanticide... etc..." One of them chimed in, saying, "Will the WHO give same advice to men. Those who abuse women after drinking alcohol - would an abused woman’s bruises on a bottle do they same as a pregnant woman?"

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