Gender and Diversity Policy

GAPA was established at the Global Alcohol Policy Conference in Syracuse, NY, USA, in 2000. Over the years, the board has been male dominated, but from 2015 it was chaired by a woman. Gender balance in GAPA governing bodies and its activities (Global Alcohol Policy Conferences, GAPA delegations etc.) has been a prime consideration. At GAPC 2020 in Dublin the list of plenary speakers and panellist showed an almost 50/50 division with a small majority of women.

From the outset the GAPA Objectives included a Low- and Middle-Income Countries perspective in that it expressed the ambition to:

  • Place priority on research and advocacy regarding those parts of the world where alcohol problems are increasing; and
  • Ensure that member groups in those areas have the technology and support capacity to participate in a global network for communication and action.

Further the GAPA By-Laws outline that

  • The Board of trustees shall consist of up to twenty members and shall be representative of all continents.

This Gender and Diversity Policy was passed by the GAPA Executive Board in March 2020 and includes what in many instances has been emerging practice over the years.

Gender equality and Diversity

GAPA recognises that gender is more than women and men, and that not everyone enjoys the same status, power or access to and control over resources. This situation is unacceptable. Principles of equity and social justice require us to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity for expressing and using their potential, irrespective of sex, gender identity and gender expression, age, race, colour, class, caste, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation or disability. Likewise, there are great differences in the resources available around the world influencing to what extent voices and perspectives from these parts of the world come forward in the global arena such as the one GAPA is involved in.

Women are less likely than men to drink around the world. Still within this pattern there are big variations, and in some parts of the world the gender gap in the prevalence of alcohol use and heavy episodic drinking has become small or non-existent. However, elsewhere persisting cultural values still contribute to a general pattern of drinking in which men consume more alcohol and cause more problems by doing so than women. Alcohol is a causal contributor to intimate partner violence with disagreements more likely to become violent and injury to be worse if alcohol is involved. For women and children living in poverty the alcohol use by the husband and father may represent addition problems related to taking unproportioned part of the household expenditures, result in lack of income or catastrophic health expenditures.

GAPA recognises that by not equally involving every person or excluding certain groups in its work, talents will be underutilised, and important perspectives will be lost. GAPA’s work in the Global Health arena will be strengthened by bringing in voices from different backgrounds; women and men; different parts of the world; different age and professions; different cultures and religions; minority groups etc. GAPA fully commits to channelling energy, effort and resources into processes that create an organisation that values all people equally and take this commitment also into the values for the society that GAPA is promoting through its advocacy.

GAPA principles for advocacy during WHO process to accelerate action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2020 – 2022

Following a decision at the World Health Organisation 146th Executive Board WHO started a two-year process to “accelerate action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol” . This includes a consultation towards an action plan 2022-2030 for the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; development of a technical report on the harmful use of alcohol related to cross-border alcohol marketing; a call for more resources to be made available; and a review of the Global strategy in 2030. Civil society has an important role to play in contributing to consultations and communicating with decision makers about what such an accelerated action will entail. GAPA and its global network will participate actively in the two-year process and beyond. Read “GAPA Principles for Advocacy 2020 – 2022” and the summary of “GAPA’s key recommendations”.

GAPC 2020 to be held in Dublin, Ireland

Sally Casswell, Chair of the Global Alcohol Policy Conference (GAPA), Simon Harris TD, Irish Minister of Health and Catherine Byrne TD, Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, announced today that the 6th Global Alcohol Policy Conference 2020 (GAPC 2020) will be held in Dublin, Ireland 9-11 March 2020.

GAPC is the leading forum for the world’s alcohol policy makers, advocates, researchers, civil society activists and practitioners. Building on the strong commitment and recent alcohol policy interventions in the country, Ireland is the perfect host for GAPC 2020.

The conference in Ireland will have the theme: “Alcohol Equity and Global Health: the benefit of alcohol control for sustainable development for all.” It maintains the tradition of focusing on advocacy, overcoming vested interests in alcohol policy development and the need for international collaboration to stop the harm caused by alcohol.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister Harris said: “The enactment of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill sent a message to the world that Ireland is serious about addressing the harms of alcohol in our country. That commitment has now been recognised by this invitation to host the next Global Alcohol Policy Conference. The conference will provide an excellent opportunity to reinforce the public health message about alcohol and to share best practice from across the world on addressing this important issue.”

Sally Casswell, Chair of GAPA says: “We are very enthusiastic about co-hosting the GAPC 2020 in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the alcohol policy NGO community in Ireland. It is a fitting acknowledgement of the great efforts made by the government of Ireland to reduce alcohol related harm. The need for evidence- based alcohol policies has never been more pronounced including in low and middle- income countries and we hope to raise funds to facilitate participation from around the world.  The conference is an opportunity to engage in fruitful discussions and exchange of ideas in a unique atmosphere, free from the vested interests of the alcohol industry. This is an important part of GAPA’s portfolio of activities aimed to fulfil our mission: to promote evidence- based alcohol policies free from commercial interest.”

The previous GAPCs were held in Melbourne, Australia in 2017; Edinburgh, Scotland (2015); Seoul, South Korea (2013); Bangkok, Thailand (2012); and Syracuse, USA (2000).  Civil society organisations, academic institutions, funding agencies and others free from any ties to the alcohol industry are invited to contact the organisers to explore co-sponsorship opportunities for the conference. 

Visit the GAPC 2020 conference website