Female Named Hurricanes vs Male Named Hurricanes

  1. Why are female-named hurricanes more lethal than male-named hurricanes?

Yan (2016) in her report in CNN News presented the debate among researchers who found themselves on the opposite sides in terms of the issue of whether female-named hurricanes are more lethal than male-named hurricanes. Other experts point to flukes in statistics and probability, and the fact that female names were originally given to hurricanes due to their unpredictability – a trait that the common social norms associate with women. A group of researchers led by Kiju Jung et. al. of the University of Illinois and Arizona State University (Kristof, 2014) however, conducted a study that proved there is indeed truth to deadlier nature of female-named hurricanes compared to male-named ones, and the reason for such lies largely on sexist and misogynistic attitude and nature of people, regardless of their gender. The deadly and devastative impact of female-named hurricanes according to the study is because of or exacerbated by, the lack of preparation and lax attitude of people when they are to face female-named hurricanes, thinking and accepting such hurricanes as weaker and less devastating, because females, well, are considered a weaker sex, gentle and meek. People who were employed as subjects in the research were found to predict and expect a stronger impact if for instance, comparing Hurricane Victor with Hurricane Victoria.

To support this take, the researchers have compared decades-long data from the archives, that indeed, figures of deaths and devastation were found to be more existent in female-named hurricanes than male-named hurricanes. However, as some experts like Gina Eosco of Cornell University stated, there are still many significant variables that the study did not consider, resulting to its scientific flaws and therefore questionable acceptance from scientific peers. For instance, there non-weather factors that affect evacuation rates, including presence of disabled and/or more vulnerable members of the family such as children, elder people, and even pets (Sharman, 2017).

  1. Why do you think this happens?

There is an undeniable truth to the exacerbation of already worse possibilities associated with facing a hurricane when people become lax about their preparations. Gender-based opinions and impressions, such as believing that intensity of a hurricane is predictably less and weaker if it has a female name, and preparing less because of such belief, can really have devastating effects when the hurricane arrived at people’s doorstep. If the research relies on this variable, there is indeed a valid reason to believe it. I believe that social and disaster risk agencies should prevent such dangerous notions from proliferating among citizens. Regardless of the name of hurricanes, equal preparation and vigilance must be practiced at all times when a forecast of a natural tempest is on its way.

 

Sources

Kristof, N. (2014 June 11). She Gets No Respect: Sexism Persists, Even Among the

Enlightened. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/opinion/nicholas-kristof-she-gets-no-respect.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A7%22%7D&_r=0

Sharman, J. (2017 September 6). Sexism means female hurricanes are deadlier than male

ones, researchers claim. Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hurricane-irma-female-storms-more-deadly-male-ones-sexism-a7931571.html

Yan, H. (2016 September 1). Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes, study says.

CNN. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/01/health/female-hurricanes-deadlier-than-male-hurricanes-trnd/index.html