From the 18th century to the 21st century, women and young people consumed alcohol for decades, and women played a central role from the beginning. Take Barbe – Nicole Cliquot for example. That’s the name we all think of when someone mentions champagne. Nicole is one of the women who were the grand ladies of sparkling wines in the 18th century. At the age of 20, she took over her husband’s wine company! She later developed her own method of removing the yeast residue and then took her drinks to the world. There were women who were also daughters of brewing dynasties across Africa and other continents; and even though women were not allowed to own or manage such businesses, they still moved between all the facades, building their empires and introducing their drinks to the world.
Historically, most law enforcement agencies hired men, and in the early days they were not allowed to search women for propriety. Women took advantage of this in turn and successfully smuggled more alcohol during Prohibition. This is still happening today. She fills her skirts, jeans, bras, boots, heels, panties, hair and all sorts of things with alcohol. In some communities, women were not allowed to drink, and in those that were, their consumption was monitored.
Today, women are catching up with men in alcohol consumption. According to many prevention and health experts, it’s not the gender gap we want to close; and for women in particular, the line between healthy and harmful drinking is easily crossed because, taking into account body consumption and other factors, women reach higher blood alcohol levels with each drink than men. This means that women can become intoxicated more quickly and maintain blood alcohol levels for longer, which can lead to an increased risk of developing long-term health problems. Alcohol is considered a major global burden of cancer and liver disease and other causes of MODs (multi organ dysfunctions) such as osteoporosis and infertility problems in women.
Due to numerous health, social and economic harms, alcohol is a huge obstacle to sustainable human development, it adversely affects the dimensions of development and interferes with aspects of society. It threatens human capital, undermines economic productivity, destroys social fabric and strains health systems. Illegal alcohol known as the ‘killer drink’ is devastating communities in Kenya. Homemade alcohol is popular among poorer Kenyans. Almost every region has its traditional version of illegally produced alcohol. According to the National Anti-Drug Abuse Agency (NACADA), 4.9 million Kenyans aged 15-65 abuse at least one drug or substance, with at least 5,000 people dying each year as a result of harmful alcohol consumption. Of all alcohol-related deaths, 28% are due to injuries such as traffic accidents, self-harm and interpersonal violence, 21% due to digestive disorders, 19% due to cardiovascular disease and the rest due to infectious diseases, cancer, mental illness. disorders and other medical conditions.
“We cannot talk about so-called safe levels of alcohol consumption. It doesn’t matter how much you drink. The risk to a drinker’s health begins with the first drop of any alcoholic beverage. There is no level of alcohol consumption that is safe for our health. All we can say for sure is that the more you drink, the more harmful it is to your health.”Ishmael Shem, Director, Blue Cross Kenya.
E-commerce has evolved as a significant Business-to-Business, Business-to-Customer, marketing and sales approach. It provides many advantages over traditional retail, such as geographical constraints, lower costs, quick time to market, target direct customers and wider customer reach. With digital transformation, alcohol producers are taking a step back and rethinking everything they do; from internal systems to customer interactions online and in person. E-commerce comes in many different formats, such as branded websites, t-shirts, accessories, mobile apps, marketplaces like Amazon, and social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Instagram shoppable ads, and Pinterest shopping pins. Most social media platforms have their own marketplaces where merchants can sell alcohol directly to women without following the required guidelines. Unfortunately, online alcohol consumption ads are printed and published as outdoor marketing materials, displayed on billboards in the streets, and every second young woman is exposed to seemingly “beautiful, feminine ads for feminine drinks with girly pink ribbons” to attract more young women and in addition are commercials filled with female music with “drunk lyrics” that the unsuspecting target audience listens to, likes, subscribes and shares widely for more influence! These platforms do not have effective mechanisms for verifying the origin and authenticity of alcohol. Criminals and counterfeiters have taken this as an opportunity to sell women alcohol and other substances at attractive prices.
In conclusion, I want to forcefully agree that there are roles we can play to help reduce the menace of alcohol consumption. Like the consumption of alcohol on social media, it shows trendy places for parties and leisure, entertainment and youth gatherings; By allowing various types of alcohol advertising and the promotion of images related to its consumption, we may choose to prevent such ads from spreading on our social media platforms through specific strategies such as un-flagging, deleting, muting, blocking, grey/blue ticking and reporting such advertisements. Strict regulation of the sale of alcohol on social networks and the dark web is therefore needed, which can impose severe penalties on criminals and counterfeiters or enforce comprehensive restrictions on advertising, sponsorship and promotion of alcoholic beverages aimed at women. There is also a need to increase online awareness of the harms caused by alcohol and substance abuse among women.
How about we avoid using our smart phones for such ads and choose the audience to which the images are directed and the areas of publication???
How about we digitALL our social media platforms for the sake of our health and the health of our loved ones this Women’s Day?