COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Charities unite to deal with 'ladette' drinking

YWCA and Alcohol Concern are banding together to develop projects and resources to help voluntary sector groups tackle binge drinking among young women.

The YWCA, formerly known as the Young Women's Christian Institute, has created a briefing booklet designed to highlight how alcohol misuse affects different communities, and the consequences that the culture of drinking in the UK can have on young women's health, safety and mental wellbeing.

The briefing includes recommendations for treatment facilities, schools and youth services, and supports government monitoring and regulation of the alcohol industry.

"The media portrayal of so-called 'ladette' drinking distorts the real problems inherent in the increasing levels of binge drinking amongst young women," said Antonia Bance, campaigns officer at YWCA.

"The popular glamorisation of alcohol and the image of high-flying young women using alcohol in the pursuit of a good time masks the damage and destruction heavy drinking can have on women's lives," she said. "It's especially important for voluntary sector groups working with women in whatever capacity to be aware that alcohol can have an effect on different areas of someone's life," Bance added.

Alcohol Concern is hoping that by teaming up with YWCA, it will reach women who may feel alienated by straightforward messages of deterrence.

"It's important that we try to develop a holistic approach to this issue and deliver information that is educational and not judgmental," said Geethika Jayatilaka, director of policy and public affairs at Alcohol Concern. "The trick is to empower women to draw their own conclusions by helping them build their confidence and self-esteem."

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