People don’t take hurricanes with female names seriously.

An interesting study of how deeply-ingrained misogyny can be, and how priming works even in our daily environments: Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them, study finds.

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.

2 thoughts on “People don’t take hurricanes with female names seriously.

  1. Brian L January 1, 2015 at 17:08 Reply

    Yet the term “Mother of all [pick your term], is often used to describe something of great immensity, import and power… language can be tricky.

    • Francois Tremblay January 1, 2015 at 17:30 Reply

      Clearly people take women’s power of creation seriously, but not their power of destruction. :)

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