Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Regulating women's behaviour

 The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently published a first draft 'global action plan' on alcohol. (The preceding link is to something like an online press release; the actual draft plan can currently be found here.)

One thing that has caused particular controversy - such as this report - is the following sentence from p. 17 (emphasis added):

"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, especially in societies with high levels of alcohol consumption where heavy drinkers are encouraged to drink even more."

Now, it isn't clear (at least on a brief look) exactly what this is supposed to mean. It certainly doesn't seem to propose anything like banning women of childbearing age from consuming alcohol. But, all the same, this is a sweeping statement, suggesting that most women shouldn't consume alcohol, even if they haven't had sex and therefore are not pregnant.

The Metro coverage quotes Matt Lambert (a remark apparently from the Telegraph, but behind a paywall) describing this as "being sexist and paternalistic, and potentially restricting the freedoms of most women".

I wouldn't agree that it's paternalistic, since paternalism usually refers (roughly) to preventing an agent from harming herself. In this case, the guideline isn't to protect the women themselves, but their children. That isn't really paternalism, even if it is unjustified.

1 comment:

  1. Hello I’m Denny, I live in USA, I found your post while searching for some related information on blog search Its a good post keep posting and update the information, There is also something good to share with you guys about paint and renovation services Roof Inspection Dallas TX

    you guys check this for best services of Renovations & paints, Thanks me after!