WHO Slammed For Suggesting Nearly Half Of Women Should Not Drink

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 17 Jun 2021 10:04
WHO Slammed For Suggesting Nearly Half Of Women Should Not DrinkWarner Bros./NBC Universal Television

The World Health Organization has received backlash for saying women of childbearing age shouldn’t drink alcohol.

The controversial suggestion comes as part of the WHO’s new Global Alcohol Action Plan for 2022-2030, which aims to raise awareness on the damage excessive drinking can cause.


According to the first draft of the plan, alcohol causes three million deaths every year and alcohol-related injuries and disease remains an ‘unacceptably high’ burden.

Beer stock image (PA)PA Images

One of the key focuses of the plan is to draw ‘appropriate attention’ to the prevention of alcohol being consumed by children, pregnant women and ‘women of childbearing age’. With the average women’s productive years being between the ages of 12 to 51 and females making up almost half of the globe’s population, this draft suggests that billions of women shouldn’t be allowed to drink.

Part of the report reads, as per MailOnline:


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.

[…] 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.

People have since criticised the suggestion.

Pregnant woman holding belly (PA)PA Images

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group, which represents UK brewers and distillers, said, ‘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.’


Meanwhile, Christopher Snowdon, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, called the advice ‘unscientific, patronising and absurd,’ The Sun reports.

Others have taken to social media to express their thoughts. One person wrote, ‘Hi @WHO could you do a study please on the affect of alcohol on sperm production, size, quantity and the affects of drinking on men’s fertility please? Cos apparently it badly affects men’s fertility. Are men going to be ‘prevented’ from drinking too? Or is it just women?’

Another person tweeted, ‘The WHO has just recommended that ALL WOMEN OF CHILDBEARING AGE should be BANNED from drinking alcohol! Morons. And how f*cking dare they – WTF is going on in the world? Women’s rights over their own bodies are being eroded at an alarming rate – ENOUGH’.


A third person wrote, ‘I’ve woken up to the news that the WHO recommend women of childbearing age should not drink alcohol at all. Because we’re just walking uteruses, right? But nothing linking alcohol and male violence – even though it’s clear as day. F*ck this.’

It’s unknown if and when the controversial plan is going to be finalised.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Health, Alcohol, Backlash, News, Now, Women


Daily Mail and 1 other
  1. Daily Mail

    Women of childbearing age should be BANNED from drinking alcohol over possible links to foetal disorders, WHO says

  2. The Sun

    TIME TO WINE DOWN? Women aged between 18 and 50 should NOT drink AT ALL, under shock WHO plan