Chivalry at sea a 'myth', Swedish study shows

Apr 12, 2012
Imagine a giant ship slowly sinking into the sea, with the men of course standing back allowing women and children to board the life boats and themselves to stoically be engulfed by the frothy waves. That idea of male chivalry at sea is however a complete myth, according to two Swedish researchers.

Imagine a giant ship slowly sinking into the sea, with the men of course standing back allowing women and children to board the life boats and themselves to stoically be engulfed by the frothy waves.

That idea of male chivalry at sea is however a complete myth, according to two Swedish researchers.

Mikeal Elinder and Oscar Erixon, economists at Uppsala University north of Stockholm, have studied 18 of the world's most famous maritime disasters since 1852 and found that men have nearly about double the chance of surviving a ship wreck as women.

"There is this myth promoted through the Titanic film and others, where women and children are led to the lifeboats and the men stand back," Erixon told AFP Thursday.

But in reality, he said, "it really doesn't usually go well for women in ship wrecks".

Out of the 15,142 people onboard the 18 ships sailing under eight different national flags when they went down, only 17.8 percent of the women survived compared to 34.5 percent of the men, the two researchers explain in their 82-page study titled: "Every man for himself -- Gender, Norms and Survival in Maritime Disasters".

Case in point: when the Estonia passenger ferry headed from Tallinn to Stockholm suddenly sank in the middle of the icy in 1994, 852 of the 989 people onboard perished, with only 5.4 percent of women surviving, compared to 22 percent for men.

"I was shocked when I saw the numbers from Estonia," Erixon said.

In fact, out of the 18 maritime disasters studied, Erixon and Elinder found that while the were about the same for men and women in some cases, women survived to a higher extent in just two cases.

The most famous maritime catastrophe of them all -- the Titanic -- is one of the exceptions to the rule: 70 percent of the women survived that tragedy compared to just a 20-percent survival rate for the men, according to the study.

The other exception was the 1852-wrecking of the British Birkenhead off Danger Point outside Cape Town, South Africa, where all the women survived but only 33.5 percent of the men did.

"The Birkenhead is where the myth originated, this idea of women and children first," Erixon explained.

In both those cases, however, the captain had given orders to get women and children out first, and most significantly, in both cases, men onboard were threatened by armed crew members to keep them away from the lifeboats.

Erixon brushed aside the suggestion that more chivalry might be shown on British vessels, pointing out that overall "women have lower survival possibilities on British ships than ships of other nationalities".

"That fact sort of busts the myth about the British gentleman," he said.

The study, he said, shows that while there are a number of examples of people acting heroically in the face of catastrophe, in most cases the survival instinct kicks in and it is "every man for himself".

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NotParker
1.1 / 5 (8) Apr 12, 2012
"Case in point: when the Estonia passenger ferry ... "

Fake Scientist: "I was shocked when I saw the numbers from Estonia,"

"The vessel's list and the flooding prevented people in the cabins from ascending to the deck; only those on the upper decks were able to escape"
-- Wikipedia

In the middle of night, only the crew on desk and passengers with insomnia had a chance to escape.

Just another study making scientists look stupid.
Sean_W
1.5 / 5 (4) Apr 12, 2012
Yeah... How did they determine if the men's survival rate was due to being able to swim, endure the cold and hang onto what lifeboats they got better than women as opposed to having elbowed the females out of the way?

And were there any cultural differences that had to be ruled out to make the conclusion about British survival rates? Fashions, tendency to try to save possessions or loved ones, etc.?

If you reach your conclusions via jumping you may miss the boat.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (37) Apr 13, 2012
ParkerTard trusts a story in Wikipedia over modern scientific research.

As always, the Tard moniker is warranted.

"Just another study making scientists look stupid." - ParkerTard
NotParker
1 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2012
ParkerTard trusts a story in Wikipedia over modern scientific research.

"Just another study making scientists look stupid." - ParkerTard


The Estonia went down very quickly. "One survivor said the ship listed and sank within five minutes. The sinking occurred sometime after midnight."

http://articles.l...-ferries

Only people as dumb as VD (and that is very, very dumb indeed) would count the Estonia disaster in this study.

" but the main part of the families were already asleep."

"5-10 minutes later the ship was listing so much that the water started to climb above the windows of the 6th floor."

http://www.varsi....a1.shtml

What a horrible tragedy. You have to be really, really stupid AND cruel to try and count this tragedy as an example of chivalry being dead.
NotParker
1 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2012
"917 people went down with the MS Estonia, 137 survived and she sank in less than 25 minutes because of a fault in the locks of the bowport. The locks failed and the bow fell of the vessel, giving free access to the cargo decks that quickly filled with water.

Recent explorations of the wreck site has found the "MS Estonia" lying on the side 240 feet down. Divers have found 125 bodies in the restaurants and bars, and about 600 are still in their cabins; whole families are buried down there."

Russkiycremepuff
1 / 5 (1) Apr 13, 2012
http://news.blogs...marines/
Submarine service is dangerous enough as it is, but with females on board it is hard to tell just how gentlemanly the men will behave in such close quarters. You could say that it might even be the seagoing equivalent of a trip to Mars of several months. I am not sure if Russian women are allowed assignments on board Russian subs.
Russkiycremepuff
1 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2012
No, there is no indication that Russian women are part of crew on Russian subs.
However, as of 2010, British women are allowed for British Navy.

http://www.dailym...ars.html

Perhaps a submarine with all female crew will be renamed HMS Pinafore?

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