Interview with Kate Monaghan

Kate MonaghanMs Kate Monaghan is the Education and Welfare Officer of Cardiff University Students’
Union. As part of her duty, she is involved in some efforts to dissuade female students in
Cardiff from binge drinking. In this interview, she gave the reasons, implications and solutions to the problem of binge drinking among women. She spoke to CASMIR IGBOKWE. Excerpts:

Q: Binge drinking among women in
Cardiff is on the increase now. Why do you think this is so?

A: I think a lot of people see it as a social opportunity. Students, in particular, see the university as not just about studying but going out to drink as well. Some of these women are also trying to assert their equality with men. If they are moving with a group of men, they try to match them in terms of how they drink. But it’s more of a way of socialising. If you don’t get drunk at the weekend, then you haven’t done anything. It’s part of the culture. To relax, you have to drink. If you go out, you have to drink to have a good time. That is the culture at the moment. 

Besides, some of these women are drinking more because they don’t realise what constitutes binge drinking. Six units of alcohol are considered binge drinking. But that, to them, doesn’t seem that much for a whole night out. So, I think they are completely unaware.

Q: But they are adults and they are supposed to know when to stop drinking? 

A: Yea. I suppose once you get to your limit, then you know it. But quite often, that’s far away from what is considered binge drinking. I think education is quite important in preventing people from doing it.

Q: How serious is this issue among female students in

A: I think it’s quite a big issue especially when you look at things like drink spiking. A lot of drink spiking happens when women are under the influence of alcohol, such that you cannot distinguish whether they are just drunk or that something has been put in their drink.

Q: What do you think are the implications of binge drinking among women? 

A: We have a long-term health issues – liver problem and that kind of thing. Addiction is quite a big problem too. If you go to the City Centre at the weekend, alcohol-related violence is something that happens more frequently now. 

Q: Can you proffer some solutions to this problem? 

A: I suppose education is the most important thing, trying to tell people what constitutes drinking safely. Also, women should be made to realise that there are other ways to relax. At the students level, we did a safety campaign last week which focused on drink spiking and related issues. In terms of drinking less, we have a health campaign next February, which will focus on alcohol and smoking. So, the students’ union is aware of this problem and it’s something we are trying to tackle.

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