The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Women & wine do just fine

T aking to the dance floor or chatting with friends or just hitting the sack — that’s what drinks are for, if you’re a young woman on the move in a metro.

Yes, while around 30 per cent settle for “chit-chatting” and an equal number shake a leg, another 30 per cent prefer to call it a day after downing a few.

This message in a bottle is from a wine ’n’ women study conducted by Siddhartha Datta, a final-year MBA student at the Xavier Labour Research Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur, under the guidance of faculty member Professor Ashish Mishra.

The spirited exercise was aimed at tracking the behavioural pattern of alcohol consumption among women between age 21 and 27.

The survey reveals that “just to try” is the most common factor — around 60 per cent — for the young woman with a bottle. And after the first swig, the majority of women don’t mind the occasional drink while celebrating or hanging out with friends.

But around 20 per cent hit the bottle every weekend and bars and pubs figure high on the list of liquor points.

Four out of five women prefer beer, gin and vodka, not whisky or rum. Feeling tipsy scores over getting sloshed for most as 60 per cent of women quizzed prefer a “moderate” high by keeping consumption levels down to 180 ml and less, over a bowl of calorie-conscious “light snacks”.

“This study is essentially a part of the greater project to study the alcohol consumption pattern of students in professional institutes, which have started with women and want to follow it up for men. We have also taken non-drinkers into account because the survey is not only to study alcohol consumption patterns but to understand the rationale and reason behind such behaviour,” says Mishra.

So, 270 young women in more than 11 cities were asked questions like why they drank, what they drank, how often they drank, how much they spent on drinks and what they did after a “session”.

The sample comprised women from diverse academic backgrounds and family income categories ranging from “less than Rs 2 lakh to over Rs 10 lakh”.

Most women (80 per cent) are careful not to drown more than Rs 300 at one sitting. And the preferred drinking companion is the friend, either female or male. Around 20 per cent choose to blend booze with boyfriends, while folks at home and relatives have also registered a presence at the drinking table.

The so-called taboo of social drinking is clearly a thing of the past as the XLRI survey reveals around 90 per cent of respondents not suffering any kind of guilt after drinking. And 80 per cent is in absolutely no mood to try and give up the occasional, or regular, gulp.

Giving those who nurse their drink something to raise a toast to, a wide majority (over 70 per cent) of respondents, including non-drinkers and occasional drinkers, agreed that a blanket ban on alcohol could never stop people from drinking.

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