‘Female’ hurricanes cause more deaths, but only because people don’t take them seriously

Culture & Commentary By: Tad Lumpkin 2:34 pm

I wonder if my tax dollars paid for this?!

(The Verge)- Yesterday marked the beginning of hurricane season, but the first big piece of hurricane news isn’t about a looming storm. Instead, it’s about how severe hurricanes with female names kill more people, on average, than hurricanes with males names. And the reason they’re so deadly has more to do with the way society perceives women than the strength of the storms themselves.

“Our experiments suggest that a storm with a feminine name is seen as less threatening and risky than one with a more masculine name,” said Sharon Shavitt, a marketing researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in an email to The VergeHer study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that people are less motivated to evacuate when a serious storm is named “Victoria”  than when the same storm is named “Victor.”

To assess the effect of a storm’s “gender” on its death toll, Shavitt and her team used data from the past six decades. Because the World Meteorological Society selects hurricane appellations from six pre-established lists of alphabetically sorted names with alternating genders, the naming system is free of gender bias. But to make sure the analysis wouldn’t be tainted by outliers, the researchers excluded two particularly lethal hurricanes from the analysis: 2005′s Hurricane Katrina and 1957′s Hurricane Audrey.

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SOURCE: ‘Female’ hurricanes cause more deaths, but only because people don’t take them seriouslyhttp://www.theverge.com/2014/6/2/5770778/hurricanes-with-female-names-deadlier-because-less-threatening

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