Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance Zambia regional president Phillip Chimponda says Zambian women are consuming more alcohol than they did in the past due to higher incomes.
And Chimponda says unlike men, women have more opportunities to drink due to their likelihood to attend social functions such as kitchen parties and weddings.
Meanwhile, SAAP chairperson Fr Charles Searson has asked the church to provide counselling services for women who are addicted to alcohol.
Speaking when he addressed journalists at Cosmic Lodge in Lusaka, Tuesday, Chimponda observed that more women were engaged in income generating ventures.
“That is not a surprise. You don’t need a rocket scientist to understand some of these things. Of course people love to work with statistics, people love to work with evidence but if you can go back and just go to the Website of World Health Organisation, you find that maybe, I am not the Government spokesperson but I just want to give you where you can get these statistics, WHO actually, every after two years they normally produce a profile of a country and they give you a
healthy profile including alcohol consumption. So I think the last one was in 2014 as far as I remember and the statistic there are showing alcohol consumption per country but also globally. So you can go there and find those statistics,” Chimponda said.
“But just maybe, to clear this a little bit because I know there has been a lot of augments on Facebook, on social media and so on and so forth where people are disputing this accession that Zambian women might be actually be among the top. There are a few contributing factors
that we can look at if you like. The first one is what we call the economic viability. If you look nowadays in Zambia, we have more women that are involved in economic activities and they are actually getting a bit of money. Those who are in informal and formal employment such
as marketers, we are talking about people that are self-employed and as well as those that are in informal sector. So in this sense, we are talking about the purchasing power among women is going higher than when you talk about 10 years ago. So that is one kind of contributing factor.”
And Chimponda said numerous kitchen parties and weddings also presented women with multiple opportunities to drink.
“The second one is the fact that if you look at our women today, their social capital networks is very different from men and that is what can help us also to understand that their drinking might be different from that of men. When we talk about social capital networks, think about how many times women go out for weddings, kitchen parties, matebeto, chilanga mulilo?. At these occasions, these are avenues for drinking not only ordinary drinking but huge drinking where people will drink more than one or six drinks meaning more than six bottles in one session. That’s a lot of alcohol if a woman is drinking that in one session. So this is the second contributing factor where we are looking at the avenues for women drinking is higher than that of men,” he said.
“The other contributing factor could be the new products. Now when we talk about the new products, we are saying the alcohol industry is very good. They have discovered that actually women will not definitely take alcohol like Castle and Mosi because of its taste. So
they are introducing some new products which are flavored. Now if you have a flavored alcohol which is to the taste of women both in form of wine and siders, women will certainly drink.”
He hailed government for approving the alcohol policy saying, there would be a reduction in alcohol consumption for not only women but also the youths.
Meanwhile, SAAP chairperson Fr Charles Searson asked the church to provide counselling services for women who are addicted to alcohol.
“Where people have become addicted to alcohol, they need counseling. We the Church and local communities should work together and provide counseling services not only to our women but also our youths in order to reduce the alcohol consumption in the country,” said Fr Searson.