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Gender and alcohol in focus during Glasgow Caledonian University’s Research Week

June 21st 2018

The Glasgow Caledonian University Research Week took place between 14th and 19th of June, which focused on research that has the potential to make significant changes in the world and address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of this focus, and addressing Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being), an event on alcohol and gender, entitled “Women, Men and Alcohol – Exploding the Myths” was organised by SARN members Dr Carol Emslie and Dr Justina Murray, on 18th June.

The event demonstrated why gender is important in understanding drinking, alcohol-related harm, recovery and family support. Speakers explored the double standards which are applied to men and women’s drinking, the ways in which alcohol marketing targets men and women, and why gender matters in terms of family support and recovery.  This session was led by the Substance Use and Misuse research group at Glasgow Caledonian University and Scottish Families affected by Alcohol an Drugs, and included expert input from Alcohol Focus Scotland, and families who have been affected by substance use.  Comments from those who attended:

“The gender issue for family support is more around getting men in the door – and maybe returning”

“Men are vulnerable through alcohol as well, but media focuses on women”

“We don’t always need to separate the genders – common message (e.g. safety) are important”

“Marketing play on male and female stereotypes to encourage drinking”


Dr Carol Emslie leads the Substance Use & Misuse research group at Glasgow Caledonian University. Her work focuses on gender and drinking across the lifecourse. Recent research involved an analysis of newspaper representations of men and women’s ‘binge’ drinking, an exploration of drinking in midlife and the social context of drinking in LGBT communities. The Substance Use & Misuse Research Group works closely with the third sector and engages extensively with practitioners, policy makers, and the public through blogs and social media (@SubMisuseGcu has > 2100 followers), and presentations at public events and the Scottish Parliament.

Dr Justina Murray (@ceosfad) leads Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs, which has an ongoing commitment to recognise and support families affected by someone’s substance use.  She has a strong background in research, policy and partnership working, having previously held roles as Chief Officer of South West Scotland Community Justice Authority, Community Planning Coordinator for the North Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership and the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust in New Zealand.

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