Investigating Gender Convergence in Alcohol Consumption in Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland: A Repeated Survey Analysis

Subst Abus. 2001 Mar;22(1):39-53. doi: 10.1080/08897070109511444.


Since the 1970s there has been concern that women may have started to adopt the drinking behaviors of men, a process seen as the result of emancipation in which women increasingly move into professions and/or lifestyles similar to those of men. This is called the convergence hypothesis. The present analysis investigated a possible closing of the gender gap and includes four countries that had national survey data for at least two time points: Finland (1984, 1992), Germany (1984, 1990), The Netherlands (1981, 1989), and Switzerland (1987, 1992). Significant convergence could be found only in Finland, which consisted of a greater increase of Finnish women becoming current drinkers and of a greater relative increase in the women's mean consumption. The fact that gender convergence was found only for Finland could be due not only to the longer observation period, but also to the egalitarian position of women and the changing drinking culture of the country.