Big Alcohol is targeting middle class women in Kenya as a whole and in a very big way.
Firstly, an article in one of the dailies put a spotlight on how the financially independent and middle class Kenyan lady has taken over the “nyamachoma” joints and bars. Nyamachoma is roast meat which is usually goat in Kenya.
Secondly, Big Alcohol in recent years has been aggressively targeting women to use alcohol. It seems to be a ‘given’ to Big Alcohol that the African men will use alcohol therefore to improve profit margins, they have a chance to rake in millions by having African women use alcohol as well. In this way, Big Alcohol keeps them and their families in abject poverty whilst Big Alcohol collects on the detriment of our communities.
This article imparts more enlightenment on the goals of Big Alcohol towards African women and their potential for revenue generation for the Alcohol industry.
The commercials appeal to women’s vanity as well as the need to be seen as classy, happy, fun, free, sexy which are all lies because this is not the reality. Alcohol use leads instead to hangovers, missing work, destruction of brain cells, disease, unhappiness, addiction and wastage of hard earned cash.
The commercial below, is shown both in Africa and Asia, the largest emerging markets. Since these commercials are aired on television and radio during primetime, children and youth see them as well and that’s how our society ends up with underage alcohol users and young and old binge users.
The Alcohol Situation Analysis 2012 that we conducted in 2012 shows that most women use alcohol due to peer pressure. Now with these commercials, women will use their disposable incomes on alcohol so that their friends see them as belonging in some sort of high class. This contributes to the poverty in our society because these funds should be used to improve the lives of our families not to be literally flushed down the drain. Women have been seen as homemakers and the ones that know how to save, but this role is being eroded by Big Alcohol and resulting in the outflow of funds instead of inflow of savings. I think the liberated woman shouldn’t be waylaid this way, but generally we want to fit in thus the effects of peer pressure and such commercials.
If we are to continue with the betterment of our societies, we need to stop this rape that Big Alcohol is executing on our girls and women.
Use of alcohol by women makes them more vulnerable to sexual harassment, abuse and rape as well as the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections and unplanned pregnancies. Furthermore, there has been such a high rate of breast cancer in Africa and a study has already stated that alcohol is one of the main causes of cancer especially breast cancer in women all over the world.
If alcohol marketing is not banned and alcohol not regulated in more ways, I therefore foresee a very bleak future for my motherland due to high costs of cancer treatments, diabetes, HBP and liver disease. Children will be left motherless and broke just because the mothers wanted a bit of mythical and imagined class.
I think that this is an important texts because it sheds light on the trouble Kenya in particular – as the current powerhouse in the EAC – and Africa in general – on its way emerging from years of colonialism, poverty and conflict – are in for, if girls and women are not protected from an industry that puts profits over people.
Following the debates, processes and discourse of the fight to eliminate gender-based violence, as well as the processes around the Millenium Development Goals and the ensuing Post-2015 Development Agenda one fact has emerged: investing into the education of girls and women is the way forward. it’s the way forward because equality is a Human Right and because girls and women who are empowered become positive agents of change. But it has also become clear that every development dollar invested in women, will be taken care of and multiplied, in contrast to men who often waste household money on alcohol use.
So, in many different aspects it is now crucial to protect girls and women from this push of Big Alcohol to recruit new customers, new users. The world does not need more alcohol users. The world and Africa need more empowered, confident girls and women.
Contrary to what most think, breast cancer risk factors include alcohol consumption in women and only 10 percent of breast cancers are attributed to hereditary factors and 90 percent to lifestyle. I am speaking from experience as a breast cancer patient http://www.2ndchanceskenya.org. As women we should not fall for these marketing tactics that will compromise our health. Thanks Brenda for highlighting this!
The weakest link here is the laid back participation of Governments in the regulation of advertising for Big Alcohol. This needs to be stepped up in line with the arguments that you have put forward. Someone needs to wake up within Government to stop the continued expansion of advertising targeting (particularly) young adults.
Thanks Bee … Keep up the fight!!