Do These Hurricanes Kill More People Because Of… SEXISM?

Do These Hurricanes Kill More People Because Of… SEXISM?

Are hurricanes with female names more deadly than those with male names? One study says yes — and researchers blame it on sexism.

hurricanes

From the Washington Post:

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People don’t take hurricanes as seriously if they have a feminine name and the consequences are deadly, finds a new groundbreaking study.

Female-named storms have historically killed more because people neither consider them as risky nor take the same precautions, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University examined six decades of hurricane death rates according to gender, spanning 1950 and 2012. Of the 47 most damaging hurricanes, the female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named storms, or almost double the number of fatalities. (The study excluded Katrina and Audrey, outlier storms that would skew the model).

The difference in death rates between genders was even more pronounced when comparing strongly masculine names versus strongly feminine ones.

“[Our] model suggests that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley … to Eloise … could nearly triple its death toll,” the study says.

Sharon Shavitt, study co-author and professor of marketing at the University of Illinois, says the results imply an “implicit sexism”; that is, we make decisions about storms based on the gender of their name without even knowing it.

“When under the radar, that’s when it [the sexism] has the potential to influence our judgments,” Shavitt said.

Of course it’s sexism, because everything is either sexist or racist these days. Why not hurricanes too?

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