Men and women are now consuming harmful amounts of alcohol in equal measure.

This significant shift in the drinking landscape has led to calls for better alcohol education to help the younger generation of girls.

Historically men have been more likely to drink alcohol than women and more likely to drink in quantities more likely to harm their health.

Perhaps not so surprising, research - published in medical journal BMJ Open - shows that by the end of the last century men's and women's drinking had converged.


Some young women are now even drinking more harmful levels of alcohol then men.

"In a very small proportion of our data points, we found that in some studies women were reporting rates of drinking that were in fact higher than men and they generally came from people born after 1981," said lead author Dr Tim Slade.

Slade, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, says the study clearly highlights the reality that alcohol problems don't just affect men but women too.

Researchers pulled data from 68 global studies which crossed two time periods, men and women born in the early 1900s and men and women born in the late 1900s.

They looked at the ratio of men's to women's drinking in those time frames and what they found was that the gap between sexes had significantly narrowed over time.

During the early 1900s, men were just over two times more likely to be alcohol drinkers than women, three times more likely to be problematic drinkers and three-and-a-half times more likely to experience alcohol-related harms, such as injuries and assaults.

But among those men and women born in the late 1900s these ratios decreased to almost one, meaning that by the end of the last century men's and women's drinking had almost reached parity.

Slade believes it's vitally important to change the broader education messages on alcohol to make sure they appeal to both men and women.


"We want to get in early now and halt this for the next generation, so working on prevention for our very young adolescents, particularly girls, to make sure they're getting the right messages and making the right positive choices for themselves."