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WHO's advice to women on alcohol consumption was in bad taste

JUDITH MWOBOBIA
By Judith Mukiri Mwobobia | June 22nd 2021

A group of women cheers to a drink in a club.[Getty Images]

The World Health Organisation is where many go for credible groundbreaking research or pointers on everything health. They are what you would call the fountain of knowledge because they may very well have the best brains in the world in matters science.

But then they go on to release something that leaves me a little jarred; they call it the Global Alcohol Action Plan for 2022 to 2030. Among the many insightful points is one that says that countries should put down guidelines that ensure that women of child-bearing age (15 to 49) should stay away from alcohol.

This I understand means that women should now exchange their martinis for something more suitable like say milk, or water. Want to know the reason? Because doing so protects their fertility. It ensures that they can carry babies and protects their uterine integrity.

And I disagree with that suggestion not because I don't think alcohol can have its adverse effects, but because it feels like one of those sexist prescriptions handed down to women because well, who is a woman if she isn’t a procreating vessel?

Newsflash, not every woman wants to be a mother. Womanhood and motherhood are separate entities. You can be the former without the latter. And the directive for women to quit alcohol, and not the men, feels sexist because, fact is, male fertility is declining at alarming rates. Studies have shown that men today carry a relatively lower sperm count compared to their own grandfathers decades ago.

Another fact is alcohol consumption does indeed affect sperm production and quality. So why is it that the WHO made this directive only to women?  

I say give women the facts and let them make decisions for themselves. They know if they want babies or not. Heck, they can decide if they care about the state of their uteruses or not. But as for the tipple, woman, do what makes you happy. After all, out of the many things that happen to a woman’s body and are out of her control because of biology, there are a few things a woman can decide for herself and her body, and one of them is this. Drink up woman!

 

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