In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, CNN by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claiming that hurricanes with female names are far more deadly than hurricanes with male names. And the study’s researchers have a rationale behind their conclusion.
The researchers studied six decades of hurricane death rates in the U.S. to come up with the conclusion that storms with female names result in far more deaths because people don’t take them as seriously as storms with male names.
Hurricanes used to have only female names until 1978, at which point it was considered sexist for such destructive phenomenons to named only after women. Since then, storm names have been created ahead of time from A to Z per hurricane season with alternating male and female names, according to ABC News. That’s why we have Harvey followed by Irma, then Jose, and now Katia.
The study claims that the reason why there have been more deaths in 1950 from female hurricanes is entirely due to their names, and they even tested their theory by asking people in a room which names sounded scarier.
Researcher Sharon Shavitt said, “These kinds of implicit biases routinely affect the way actual men and women are judged in society. It appears that these gender biases can have deadly consequences.”
In fact, the study claims “that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley to Eloise could nearly triple its death toll.
Not everyone is buying it, though. In a National Geographic piece, the National Centre for Atmospheric Research’s Jeff Lazo pointed out a flaw in the study. All hurricanes had female names between 1950 and 1979, and hurricanes, in general, were deadlier in the past than they are now for a variety of reasons.
“Trying to suggest that a major factor in this is the gender name of the event, with a very small sample of real events, is a very big stretch,” Lazo said, adding that a real-world study of how people react to different hurricane names would be far more effective.
What do you think of this? Meanwhile, a popular surfer has died while trying to surf waves generated by Hurricane Irma.