Study: Female-Named Hurricanes Deadlier Than Male-Named Hurricanes

Nov 16, 2015
Originally published on November 9, 2015 9:15 am

It’s hurricane season. Although it’s been a quiet one so far, one study says if a storm does come through people may not take it as seriously if it has a feminine name.

A study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Arizona State University says storms with more feminine names are deadlier.  

That’s because people react differently to a storm called “Victor” versus “Victoria.”

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor Sharon Shavitt helped with the study.

She said this may reveal an underlying form of sexism.

“This isn’t necessarily a form of sexism that says women are bad, it’s a form of response to feminine names that holds that they are more gentle, kinder, more nurturing, more benign, as opposed to masculine names,” she said.

Researchers examined 62 years of North Atlantic hurricane data. They also put a panel through a series of experiments.

The panelists rated how feminine or masculine certain names seemed, not knowing they were the names of hurricanes.

Researchers also gave them storm scenarios. Shavitt said whenever they respond to a hurricane with a male-named storm, they perceived them as riskier.

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