A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that female-named storms have historically killed more people, as those in the area don’t take more precautions.

A study of six decades worth of hurricane death rates, spanning from 1950 to 2012, found tat female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named super storms, double the number of deaths.

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

A co-author and professor at the University of Illinois says that there is “implicit sexism” and that individuals make assumptions and risk assessments on the gender name without even knowing it.

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

The researches ran a test, to exam their hypothesis by setting up six experiments presenting a series of questions to 100 to 346 people.

People imagining a ‘female’ hurricane were not as willing to seek shelter…The stereotype that underlie these judgments are subtle and not necessarily hostile toward women- they may involve viewing women as warmer and less aggressive than men.

A call for more research into the social and behavioral aspects came from multiple scientists, including one form the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Julie Demuth.

“My hope is that this paper helps continue the dialogue about and support for research on people’s hurricanes risk perceptions and responses and the implications for hurricane risk communication,” Demuth said.

 

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Martin Ackerman is a freelance writer and current editor originally from Staten Island, NY. His university schooling focused on English education and Japanese. He has a (not so secret) passion for art history and political science. When he isn't writing or editing you can find him at sci-tech conventions, building the latest LEGO city or pampering his cat, Tea. You can follow him on Twitter @MarMackerman.