• Young girls are more likely to ride in a car with a driver who had been drinking than young boys. Thirty percent of ninth grade girls reported having ever ridden in a car with a driver who had been drinking compared to 25.3% of ninth grade boys.12
  • While boys are still more likely to be arrested for underage drinking, girls’ rates increased by 7.7% from 1980 to 2005, whereas boys’ rates declined by 25%.13
  • Only 9% of those arrested for DUI in 1980 were female. However, by 2004, women accounted for 20% of those arrested for DUI. In women ages 18-20, the rate nearly doubled from 1980 to 2004.14

Health Consequences:

  • Women generally drink less and less often than men. However, women drinkers are at higher risk for certain medical problems, including liver, brain, and heart damage, than are men who drink comparable amounts.15
  • Women metabolize alcohol differently than men. When women and men of the same body weight drink the same amount of alcohol, women reach higher peak blood alcohol levels.16
  • The USDA Dietary Guidelines reflect that women drinkers are at higher risk for alcohol-related health problems. The USDA prescribes that any alcohol use be done in moderation and defines moderation as no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.17
  • Several meta-analyses have found that any consumption of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, and that the degree of risk rises as the level of consumption increases.18, 19
  • Adolescent girls are two times more likely to be depressed as adolescent boys. There is also a stronger relationship between depression and substance use in young girls than young boys.20

Risky Sexual Behavior and Sexual Assault:

  • The disinhibiting effect of alcohol is more pronounced in adolscent girls than in adult women.21
  • It is estimated that teenage girls who binge drink are up to 63% more likely to become teen mothers.22 Early initiation of alcohol use also increases the likelihood tha a teen mother will drink during pregnancy.23
  • It is estimated that in 1998 more than 70,000 college students were victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.24
  • One study of over 5,000 undergraduate women found that 20% of seniors had been victims of sexual assault during college.25
  • In a survey done of prisoners in state jails in 1997, 40% of convicted rape and sexual assault offenders said that they were drinking at the time of their crime.26

Domestic Violence:

  • Of domestic violence incidents reported by the victims, 67% involve an abusive partner who has been drinking.27
  • A study on substance abuse and domestic violence between 1993 and 1998 found that 57% of domestic violence incidents during those six years involved only alcohol, while 10% of incidents involved both alcohol and drug use. In contrast, only 11% of domestic violence incidents during those years involved only drug use, and only 21% involved no substance abuse at all.28


Women Girls and Alcohol – Factsheets – Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.