Abusing Women

  • Lesley Doyal


Millions of women consume legal but potentially hazardous substances every day in an attempt to ensure their own well-being and that of their families. In this chapter we explore some of the reasons behind this paradox. In particular we look at women’s use of food, alcohol, cigarettes and tranquillisers, linking this with patterns of inequality and discrimination that have already emerged in earlier chapters.


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Further Reading

  1. Ashton, H. (1991) ‘Psychotropic drug prescribing for women’, British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 158, supplement 10, pp. 30–5. A summary of current trends in the prescribing of psychotropic drugs for women in Europe and North America. It includes a useful discussion of the reasons why women are prescribed these drugs so much more often than men, and highlights the problems that follow from this.Google Scholar
  2. Chollat-Traquet, C. (1992) Women and Tobacco (Geneva: WHO). A global overview of current trends in female smoking. Produced with the support of WHO, this book highlights the growing number of women smokers around the world and documents the likely health effects.Google Scholar
  3. Gabe, J. and Thorogood, N. (1986) ‘Tranquillisers as a resource’, in J. Gabe and P. Williams (eds), Tranquillisers: social, psychological and clinical perspectives (London: Tavistock). An important study challenging the notion that all women taking psychotropic drugs are passive victims. Through interviews with a group of working-class women in London, it illustrates their use of tranquillisers as a resource for coping with the contradictions of everyday life.Google Scholar
  4. Jacobson, B. (1986) Beating the Ladykillers: women and smoking (London: Pluto Press). A campaigning book designed to reduce the female death toll from tobacco. It explores in depth the reasons why girls and women are drawn into the smoking habit and offers a guide to women who want to quit smoking themselves or to help others to do so.Google Scholar
  5. Journal of Substance Abuse, vol. 3 (1991) special issue on women and substance abuse: A wide-ranging collection describing women’s use and misuse of a number of different substances. Two survey articles are especially useful: Berman, B; and Gritz, E., ‘Women and smoking: current trends and issues for the 1990s’; and Wilsnack, S. and Wilsnack, R., ‘Epidemiology of women’s drinking’.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lesley Doyal 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lesley Doyal

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