Weather sexism: hurricanes with a woman's name kill more because we believe they are less dangerous

Sexism sneaks into all the fissures of our behavior to such infinitesimal levels that we are barely aware of it. Even the most equanimous with the other sex will probably stumble into some kind of sexual bias. For example, not long ago we explained how women were more incompetent in mathematics because they believed that it should be, and that, however, they were much more solvent if sexual bias was avoided as much as possible in mathematical tests.

Now we discover that even baptizing a hurricane with a woman's name influences the number of victims it produces: when calling with a sweet woman's name (Rita, for example) instead of a blunt man, people take less precautions because they consider it less dangerous, according to a study just published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science researchers from the University of Illinois, in Arizona.

To reach this conclusion, hurricanes and the victims produced by them in the 1950 to 2012 interval were analyzed. Of the 47 deadliest hurricanes, the females had twice as many victims as the males: 45 vs. 23. If the female name is particularly sweet, then the victims can triple, as is the case with Charley or Eloise.

To carry out the study, a group of volunteers rated the name of the hurricane on a scale of 1 to 11 (1 equal to very masculine, 11 very feminine). The Katrina of the equation was surpassed, because it left all the values ​​for its monstrous effect). In another exercise, hurricane sex affected how respondents said they would prepare for such a hurricane. Sharon shavitt, co-author of the study and professor of marketing at the University of Illinois, says the results imply an "implicit sexism," but qualifies:

The stereotypes that underlie these judgments are subtle and not necessarily hostile towards women: they may involve considering women as warmer and less aggressive than men.

A nineteenth-century Australian meteorologist, Clement L. WraggeHe was the first to baptize hurricanes. At first he chose biblical names, such as Zacchaeus, Uza or Tamar. Until 1979, the United States Meteorological Commission granted female hurricane names only, but the Australian meteorological service began to assign names of both sexes. Today a commission meets and prepares the names that will be given to each typhoon starting with the A and ending with the Z. For example, in 2011, the first cyclone was called Arlene, the second Bret, the third Cindy, the fourth Don, the next Emily ... Here you have a list of tropical cyclones.