The World Health Organization (WHO) has drawn strong criticism after one of its policy proposals advised to ban women of “childbearing age” – 18 to 50 – from consuming alcohol. The suggestion was called “sexist” by large sections of society.


In the first project of the health organization Global Plan of Action on alcohol 2022-2030, one sentence, in particular, drew criticism.

“Appropriate attention should be paid to the prevention of initiation into alcohol consumption in children and adolescents, the prevention of alcohol consumption in pregnant women and women of childbearing age”, reads. one in the draft policy.

Industry bodies criticized the directive as being sexist. The advice also does not take into account women who do not wish to have children or who cannot give birth.

“As well as being sexist and paternalistic, and potentially restricting the freedoms of most women, this goes way beyond their remit and is not rooted in science,” said Matt Lambert, CEO of Portman. Group, an industrial body that regulates the marketing of alcohol. UK.

Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said drinking alcohol during the early stages of pregnancy can harm the fetus even before people realize they are pregnant. “It’s important that people understand these risks – but it’s also essential that we balance this with the right of every adult to make informed decisions about what we do with our bodies, regardless of our age or gender,” Piper said.

The WHO has said that the harmful use of alcohol causes about 3 million deaths each year. The health organization added that the number of illnesses and injuries attributable to alcohol consumption remains unacceptably high. Therefore, the draft policy aims to accelerate the reduction of harmful consumption.

The controversial opinion drew a mixed reaction from South African social media users.

“Are they going to tell the women what to wear next?” What is the obsession with controlling women, ”one Twitter user asked.

“Will never fly. No matter the noble intention, but it will be considered discriminatory, “said another user, to whom someone replied:” There is nothing noble about it. “

The draft policy can be read here.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-17 21:19:00


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