Women and children first?

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Time for a poll.  The sinking of the Costa Concordia has made me wonder whether the old adage of ‘women and children first’ still applies.  So, if you are a guy, imagine that you were on the ship.  It is sinking and there are a limited number of lifeboats.  You are not with your partner or children.  Would you follow the ‘women and children first’ rule?  Be honest – it is all anonymous!  Vote now….

If you are female, how do you think men will vote?  Indicate your answer in the poll below….

126 comments on “Women and children first?

  1. Sarah says:

    I think that children should go first, but men and women are equal.

    • Vaahto says:

      Agreed. I could perhaps understand a rule for children first with one parent of either gender, but there’s no reason women should get preferential treatment in general. A parent can help keep children calm and from panicking.

    • Richard says:

      This is exactly what I was going to say.

    • One Eyed Jack says:

      Women and children first, unless they’re from steerage class. Those people are just filthy! Someone lock the gates until we’re sure the first class passengers are safe.

      I base all my morale decisions on James Cameron films.

    • Sarah says “men and women are equal.” Eeeerm this needs some clarification/further explanation for when I look at my wife, women around me, I can see some pretty big differences. So dear lady, when you say men and women are equal – in what way exactly?

      K

    • knobody says:

      agreed. as a female, i would think children with one parent of either gender, the elderly, and those requiring special needs/assistance go first.

    • Neily says:

      This is where I’d go. Hard to tell unless faced with the situation directly but I’d like to think that children go first then men and women equally.

    • Kanzie says:

      From a purely effectiveness standpoint, special needs people (elderly or otherwise) should be one of the last to leave.

      Assume you have 10 minutes to evacuate, and in that 10 minutes, you can either assist 10 people with mobility problems off the ship, and leave the remaining 90 passengers sinking with the vessel, or evacuate 90 able-bodied passengers and leave 10 on the vessel. From a purely numbers standpoint, you would evacuate the 90 passengers first, who just happens to be able-bodied.

      Incidentally, this is also the standard fire warden practice in Australia, where special needs persons are moved to “safe location” in the building in the event of evacuation, but are the last to be evacuated.

    • Jenny says:

      I agree that children and a parent should go first. Kip’ Chelashaw, men and women are, or at least should be, equal in the value of their lives, and equal before the law.

    • Berber Anna says:

      Kip’ Chelashaw: There’s a subtle difference between ‘identical’ and ‘equal’. While males and females are physically different, they are of equal worth and mental capability.

    • Berber Anna, when people speak of equality it needs to be spelt out exactly, in what way the things being compared are equal. To say simply (as Sarah does) that men and women are equal is unhelpful and inaccurate and doesn’t really really help us discern what to do re the Costa Concordia (and other similar situations). However now that you’ve said that males and females are physically different i.e. women and men are not equal when it comes to their physical stature (including I presume their strength) does that not then highlight the question of priority with regard to who should have left the Costa first viz. women who even though they are equal in worth to men are nevertheless different to men physically (including being generally weaker)

    • Berber Anna says:

      No, because it’s not as simple as a matter of strength. Children should be prioritised because they don’t have the capacities to take care of themselves (if children are left until the last moment, they might get lost or find themselves unable to get into the boats). Women are just as capable of reasoning and of climbing into boats as men. They’re also just as capable of finding the best refuge if they’re left without a lifeboat, and in the same amount of danger of dying from hypothermia if they land in the water (strength won’t do much if you’re in freezing water, you’re not going to last more than a few minutes).

      And even if it were a matter of strength, the adage should be ‘weakest first’, not ‘women first’. A man of 70 is bound to be weaker than a woman of 20. A scrawny man is weaker than a well-trained woman. Men on average may be physically stronger, but that doesn’t say much about individual cases.

    • Mike Forsyth says:

      Survival time in water from 0 up to 4 degrees C is 15-30 minutes before you are exhausted – death follows 30 minutes to an hour. Up to 10 degrees C and you have another half an hour before exhaustion and can cheat death from between 1 and 3 hours.

      These figures are dependent on the person, who should curl up in a fetal position and use their buoyancy aid to keep them afloat so they are not losing so much heat in swimming. It assumes an absence of sharks and people flinging themselves off a ship upon them (or the captain accidentally falling off the ship into a lifeboat)

      In water rescues, speed is of the essence, to get people out of the water.

  2. Drew says:

    This is difficult to answer, it’s hard to know what you would do in that situation. Certainly children would go in to the lifeboats first.

  3. Mervulon says:

    I agree with Sarah, but I think I would still defer to the old adage…

  4. AMWhy says:

    I’m male. I’m not going to vote as I honestly don’t know what I would do. I think the answer would be somewhere in between. Let the woman and children in immediate view go first, then take a boat without looking to see if there are other women and children waiting.

  5. Steve says:

    Wasn’t the problem (as reported) with the Costa Concordia that men refused to be separated from families, so creating a difficult situation in applying the `rule`

    • mujdat says:

      If we say children first.mothers will refuse to be seperated from them and fathers and husbands will refuse to be separeted from them. I believe the families with children should come first .

  6. Moray says:

    We’ve recently had to change out all the lifeboats on our offshore platform because of a directive from the HSE stating that the average person working offshore is now 20kg heavier than when the lifeboats went into service. Meaning we need more space and strength in the lifeboats. If this is an indication of how the public in general is going (and, well, it is) I’d go for “children and thin people first” as my new moto.

  7. Alex says:

    Interesting poll. You can’t take those who answer “not allow” to necessarily mean they want off first – for example as Sarah says you could let children off first and then men + women off together.

  8. andrew willoughby says:

    It’s a sad day when men will forsake the future for their own selfish means. We all have a survival instinct. It’s just how big a picture this instinct looks at. Perhaps it might be wise to look at the jobs of men that answer this question either way to gain an insight into why they answered the way they did. ( bomb disposal )

    • Richard says:

      Children are “the future”, yes, but you need both sexes of adult to make them.

    • Tony says:

      Children are the future, but what about *my* children?

      The questions states that I am not with my wife and children, and so the choice boils down to save myself for the sake of my own family, or potentially sacrifice myself for some unknown strangers, who happen to be children (considering men and women equal, as has been mentioned above).

      Seems clearcut to me, but having said that, you never know how you will behave in situations such as these until you are actaully in them.

    • Berber Anna says:

      Richard: Perhaps this boils down to the biological fact that you can make more children with one man and several women than with one woman and several men. Which is all good and well if you’re stranded on an island, but obviously not applicable when all the rescued men and women will be reunited with their own partners and families anyway.

    • Richard says:

      Indeed. And of course, these days, do we *really* need to worry about whether the human race will survive? One boat sinking isn’t really going to change that.

  9. lehcyfer says:

    Anyone can write what they like, but it doesn’t matter – how would they behave can be only found out in the real case.

    The only ones who can say a bit more definitely are ones who already were in such situation – and even with them it is not 100% sure.

    The poll is only of anegdotic worth.

  10. Stuart says:

    Sitting safely here at my desk is one thing. Being in the ‘heat of the moment’; knowing that it could mean life or death for me; not knowing the strangers that I might place ahead of myself… that could change your frame of mind. For single guys, like in the question, maybe the answer is simplified, yet still a tough one. For family men (and women) the question is infinitely more complex.

  11. Patrick says:

    There should be an Option to just save the kids, or those unable to save themselves. Here I can be sexist or selfish.

  12. Nathan Rae says:

    I think the key part of thepoll question is “not enough life boats.” we should not be getting on ships like that in the first place.
    But then on modern ships we should be able to assume that there are enough and that when we get to them they are in working order no?
    Children first, then adults, then crew, then dogs…

    • One Eyed Jack says:

      Why all the hate for dogs? I know many a dog that I would save before some adults. Newt Gingerich comes to mind.

      I agree all the cats can drown.

  13. rodbert says:

    I understood that “women and children” first was a good idea in theory, in a time when there were not enough life boats. In practice it turned out that strong people – men – were needed to get the life boats into the water and row away from the place of the accident. (I’m pretty sure I read it on Wikipedia, but alas, the site is on strike today).
    Anyway, I guess the situation is different nowadays.

  14. Because there is no longer the stigma of guilt anymore, it would be every man for himself. Etiquette along with moral duty has disappeared throughout the world so now the adage becomes, ‘Only the strong survive’.

    • Anders says:

      I would let women and children go first, and if I saw a man physically prevent a woman or a child getting in a lifeboat, I would at least try to throw him in the water

      At least that is what I think I would do. I agree with the people who say that since I’ve never actually been in that situation, I don’t actually know how I would react when panic strikes. I like to think I would keep my head enough to do that, but I recognize that it may just be wishful thinking

    • Richard says:

      Yes, yes, selfishness didn’t exist in the past, those rosy days where nobody would dream of killing each other or, I dunno, taking slaves.

    • One Eyed Jack says:

      It’s always amusing to see people romanticize the past. Things were always better in “the good old days”.

      News flash! A generation from now, today will be the good old days.

      The good old days were never as good as we picture them to be.

  15. Anon says:

    This is the kind of question you can not answer hypothetically.
    Are they good looking women?
    Are they well behaved children or misbehaved little brats who have been pains in the arse on the voyage so far?………

  16. Jos says:

    It depends on the job and nationality. If I was an Italian male captain, I probably would go first …

  17. Markus says:

    I am male. I voted “not allow”, but the questions are far to simple. Of course I would choose to die instead of my own children. Also, I would choose to save my wife. But why on earth should I prefer my sister over my brother? And I definitly would place my adult son (age 19) in the boat, even if he would be older. My mother would definitly place me in the boat and would stay, but I would not allow this. And so on… And I dont want to start to talk about people I dont know, or even know but dont like. I know women I would preferrably NOT die for.

    • Markus says:

      If I could define the rules, I suggest: save always complete families together (dont separate the mother and child from the father, dont separate couples), prefer children (but include their families), all other: first come, first serve. People how use force to be first will be send back to the end again. Also: Everybody is free to choose not to be saved (e.g. if I am really old and had my time on this earth, I would like to offer my place in the boat to the younger humans).

  18. Anonymous says:

    Elderly, infirm and children first with appropriate others for support then other able bodied folk.

    • Berber Anna says:

      Yes, this.

    • Julia says:

      I didn’t vote because this option wasn’t available. I think ‘women and children first’ comes from a time when women wore clothes in which they could barely breathe, let alone walk or swim. There’s no need to treat them as infirm anymore.

  19. Chris says:

    I’d head straight for the lifeboats. Not a problem – everyone else will be too busy tweeting.

  20. CHris says:

    Children first with a guardian of either gender. I suppose women tend to be smaller and maybe you could get more of them in a lifeboat (?!?) but otherwise I would consider women and men to have equal priority.

  21. JimC says:

    Zoologically speaking, the most important members of a population are the breeding adults. Therefore, children and the elderly, who are not of breeding age, should be the last to leave. Of course, the small number of people on a cruise liner does not represent the entire population of the species, so this thinking probably does not apply in this case.

    • One Eyed Jack says:

      Nonsense! Men can procreate well into old age.

      Just leave the old women behind and everyone else head for the lifeboats. ;-)

  22. One Eyed Jack says:

    I have a better question.

    The life boats are full. The last person into last boat is a obese woman. Two children would have been next. The two of them could have fit in the space taken up by this one woman.

    Anyone that doesn’t make it onto a lifeboat will die.

    Do you push the woman over the side of the ship (killing her) to make room for the children?

  23. bujin1977@hotmail.com says:

    A joke from Sickipedia (may be unpopular with some…)

    April 14th, 1912
    MAN: “Women and children only please.”

    25 years ago:
    WOMAN: “Women want sex equality.”

    15 years ago:
    WOMAN: “Women to fight sexism.”

    5 years ago:
    WOMAN: “Women winning on sex equality”

    January 13th, 2012
    WOMAN: “It was unbelievable. Men were trying to get into the lifeboats before women!”

  24. Gareth says:

    Ok, perhaps if the form on this page worked properly in IE7, my email address might not have been published on that joke…

  25. Stefano says:

    I don’t agree with those writing that there is no point in the poll as you can’t never know how you will act in a situation like this.
    It’s obvious that very few people actually have found themselfs in a situation of life or death, where panic and very basic instincts will arise to make up the rational mind. This sound to me like an excuse. We are rational minded animal, and we shall prepare ourself to face situation where we have to choose between sacrifice ourself for someone else to live.
    I reckon that if you prepare yourself in advance, simply asking yourself question like “What will I do if…?”, then you can overcome the panic, be cold blooded and force yourself to act consistently with your statment.

    As ever:
    Hope for the best prepare for the worst!

    • One Eyed Jack says:

      Perhaps the poll is more about the different views of men and women, and not so much about what people will actually do.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Families should stay together, otherwise people are going to look for their relatives. So women & children first will result in less people getting off board in the same period compared to when everyone would stay in the groups they travel with.

  27. Bletherskite says:

    I was interested to read this week that the ‘women and children first rule’ is really a bit of a myth perpetuated by the media and films etc. It has no actual basis in law or seafaring guidelines and seems to stem from the HMS Birkenhead incident where the wives and children of the officers on board were given priority – whether this was as a matter of chivalry on behalf of the soldiers or was enforced by the officers is a matter of debate.

    The only legal requirement priority wise is to assign an accessible lifeboat to those with mobility issues i.e. blind, disabled but that’s pretty much it.

    This Guardian article goes into more detail

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/jan/16/costa-concordia-women?newsfeed=true

    I think the majority of men will vote above that Women and Children should go first as it’s so culturally ingrained. For my part I think that children should be given priority but that men and women are equal after that.

    However, as I think someone stated in the Guardian the actual best way to deal with it is First goes First – fill the lifeboats as people get to them since in that situation debating the values of youth over age, male over female etc. etc. and trying to police it just wastes valuable time.

  28. Nick says:

    I’m not going to vote as I don’t think either response is appropriate and there is no “none of the above” option.

    My thoughts:

    If there’s a queue for a lifeboat, fill it with less able people first and allow those able to help with the rescue to stay and help.

    If a lifeboat is going and there are still spaces, make use of those spaces unless you are certain that you can help further without putting yourself in danger.

    Gender should not come into it. If you can help, you should help, but you should not put yourself in jeopardy pointlessly.

    Cheers

    Nick

  29. I voted I would let them go first but honestly I have no clue as to what I would really do. I think the only way to know is to be there.

  30. I would probably “accidently trip into a life boat while helping others” so I could be a dry hero.

  31. anibal morbo says:

    pensamos que si nosotros lo hacemos por otros, otros lo hacen por los nuestros mientrastanto.

    si hacemos una campana de gauss (ver estadistica) con personas melancolicas y sanguineas como opuestos nacidos en cada mes del año, se ve que en la cupula de dicho grafico que esta en los meses en que nacen mas sanguineos ( hay mas republicanos, mas militares y menos presos) y en la parte baja de la curva es en los meses que nacen mas melancolicos (mas democratas, menos militares y mas presos)

  32. Wolfdude says:

    With the same logic from the beginning there must be some man on board regarding the woman and children’s safety ^^

  33. Lola says:

    Why divide by men/women? Why not have strong swimmers with lifejackets hop into the water (and stay together) and put the less able (kids, seniors, people with a physical disability) in lifeboats with competent people to crew them?

    • Berber Anna says:

      Because at this time of year, the water is cold enough that even a good swimmer will be hypothermic very soon.

  34. dharmaruci says:

    my father used to say the Birkenhead drill should also apply to mine fields.

    (ha ha joke it was meant as)

  35. livedman says:

    Personally there would be no rule what so ever. After all females and males are both considered equal these days. Or doesn’t that apply when it comes to disasters/emergencies.

  36. Steph Bazzle says:

    I think I give a different answer to ‘how will men vote’ than I would to ‘how will men actually react in the event’.

    I think that our societal teachings tell men they are *supposed* to say women and children first, and therefore, I think that as long as it is only a hypothetical, they will. How they’d react in the actual setting is harder to say.

    The ‘right’ reaction in the actual case is also harder to say. There needs to be at least one person in any given rescue boat (maybe more, I don’t know how many people it takes to paddle those things) to do the paddling away from the wreck. Heck, probably several strong people, to get away before the suction or whatever. There also have to be adults or children old enough to hold onto and calm any small children. (Because I am an experienced mother and a self-sacrificing, giving person, I hereby volunteer myself to be a child-carer in the first boat leaving.) Thus, a firm ‘children first’ couldn’t hold as a rule, I think.

  37. Mike Forsyth says:

    Women can survive better in water due to buoyancy, apparently.
    Depends on situation too, temperature of water, distance from shore, sharks, how annoying the children are, how attractive the women are, how many obese people you can fit in a single lifeboat versus slim people, so many questions…

    • One Eyed Jack says:

      Did you just say that women have natural floatation devices???
      ;-)

    • Mike Forsyth says:

      From Buoyancy Facts –
      Women, older people and those who are not very muscular often have more fat than muscle even if they look slim. These people may float more easily.

      Of course people will die as a result of hypothermia more than sinking. Keeping out of cold water is a priority – perhaps ships should issue dry suits with buoyancy aids rather than have lifeboats which can’t be used in the case of a ship being on its side.

  38. Tony says:

    As Prof Ed Galea explained on the BBC this morning, years of study, analysis and simulation show that “women and children first” is not the most effective evacuation strategy and costs lives.

  39. FrankN.Stein says:

    Children, the weak, the sick, the elderly, the handicapped. Sure
    Women as such – no. XX chromosomes are neither a handicap nor do they make their bearer more valuable.

  40. Paul Creevey says:

    Ok so, the men think the women & children should go first. – my reasoning is that maybe we could swim farther or hang on to a rope or something.
    But I would love to know why the women thing they should go first?

    Can I re-do my choice now!!!

    • Berber Anna says:

      The women were only asked what the men would say. I don’t think women and children SHOULD go first (well, children should, but women shouldn’t just for being women), but I do think that that’s what the majority of men will say. Simply because that’s what’s been culturally ingrained in them.

    • I have no problems with being cultural ingrained in something if ithat thing is good. Women and children should go first. Period. It is the honourable and decent thing to do. I also open the door for my wife, pay the bills when we go out, take out the rubbish, do all the outdoor jobs (mowing the lawn, clearing our drive when it snows etc) – can any woman say this is a wicked view on life?

      K

    • Berber Anna says:

      Why is it honourable and decent to let women go first? Children, sure, as they can’t fend for themselves. But women aren’t any more helpless than men.

      I don’t see how ‘paying the bills when [you] go out’ would work — don’t your wife and you have a shared bank account? I thought most couples did.

      I open the door for my male friends if I’m ahead of them. If they’re ahead, they open it. They do offer me their coats when it’s cold, which makes sense as men are physiologically better equipped to deal with cold (women have a stupid circulatory system that redirects blood to the abdomen when it’s cold, on the off chance that there’s a fetus there). I pay my own bills, as I don’t like owing people. Unless I’m with close friends, and then whoever is first to get out their card pays. And as far as chores go, the outside ones are usually preferable to the indoor ones (cleaning, vacuuming, ironing… boring).

      Chivalry is all well and good, but it assumes a power balance where men should ‘take care’ of women. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.

  41. idaraine says:

    To be honest, if my husband and I had children, I’d have a really hard time leaving him behind.

    He is far more physically fit than me (and obviously more so than our hypothetical children) but that doesn’t mean he’s a strong swimmer, as he’s not.

    Myself and my children would need him once we get back to shore.

  42. L.Long says:

    I answered NOT ALLOW.. because the survey is silly.
    The answer ‘kids 1st’ is a cultural program that has no real validity.
    It is too simple with way too many considerations.
    IF by some chance I elected to get onto a high seas ship with insufficient life boats and we were the last on earth, then I would allow kids, women, & breeding men on the lifeboats because I am not a breeder.

    But go back 40yrs, why is a woman or kid more value than me? Or me more value then them? Why kids 1st? A 1yr old can be quickly be replace with 1min of work and waiting 9mo. It takes 20+yrs to replace any adult and then the kid still needs lots of training. What about all those women and kids who died because the adult male was not in the boat to give them his strength when needed?

    As others have stated the situation would determine the best action, and I really don’t know what I would do until the time.

  43. WML says:

    The questions don’t permit giving preferences to children but not women or vice versa.

  44. Claire says:

    Keeping families together (as opposed to prioritising children with mothers or even one adult family member of either gender), even if the elderly and infirm are also prioritised, then keeping couples together and then leaving single fit people of either gender to fight it out for the remaining places is going to disadvantage single women above all other groups. Since young fit women are physically weaker than young fit men, they are at risk of being shoved out of the way for lifeboat space and if they end up in the water, possibly being drowned by stronger but desperate men useing them as liferafts, having their lifejacket or floating jetsam forcibly taken from them. In theory the single men left behind would be strangers with no interest in protecting them. Also, men are typically heavier than women so prioritising men with families in lifeboats with limited space could lead to less lives, overall being saved. It’s not about some lives being more valuable than others, as some have suggested, it’s about the likelihood of survival and giving people a chance.

  45. Jason Goertzen says:

    I was once robbed at knife point. After, I expressed that I was glad, in a weird way, that I had gone through it, because it allowed me finally say how I would react in a situation like that. About to drown in freezing water, though? I have no idea how I would react–only how I *hope* I would.

  46. adora says:

    I once heard a comedian said: Men make 30-40% more money doing the same jobs. Being drafted at wars and dying in Titanic-situations is part of the deal.

    Inequality aside, I think there’s some logic in the women-and-children-first plan. We could all agree that the best outcome is to save as many lives as possible. Women and children are generally lighter in weight. Therefore, you move more people on lifeboats sooner. By this logic, I’d like to propose a new paradigm: fatties last.

  47. John Appleby says:

    I’m male and believe in the ‘women and children first’ rule. However that was a clever poll. By asking only females to answer the second question Richard garners a lot more information than is obvious.

  48. Katie says:

    I agree with many of the above comments- definatley children first, and their parents (either male or female). But if it’s people without children I don’t believe there is any reason for a woman to go first.

  49. Gib says:

    In order:
    1. My kids
    2. My wife and I (equal)
    3. My friends and family’s kids
    4. My friends and family
    5. Stranger’s kids
    6. Stranger’s parents
    7. Stranger adults (non-parents) who aren’t too old.
    8. The oldies and infirm.
    9. The crew (except the guy in charge of the boat at time of accident)
    10. The guy in charge during the accident.

  50. It would be against my religion to put the woman and child before myself. My religion is Solomonite Scientist. In my religion I aim to be equal to King Solomon, who is equal to God. Therefore by putting a woman and child before myself I am committing Sin by saying I willing put put them above God, who I am equal to. God degrees that I shall have no God above him, so that means the woman and child would have to understand that to treat me equally on the grounds of my religious belief, would mean they could not come before me.
    I answered both questions by the way. Whilst my sex is man, my gender is 18% female and 81% male so I had a right to answer the one relating to females. So I voted that most men would put women and children they have no relationship with before themselves. But then most of these men are probably walkovers who are pathetic excuses for human beings.
    Survival of the fittest – If there were only two spaces on the boat, I’d take the kid and let the woman drown. Neither she, nor any other person is more important than me – they are not God!

  51. Roy Lee says:

    In principle, I think is should be children, elderly, disable and the sick first.
    As for women first, they spent many years fighting for equal rights and opportunities. So on that basis, men should also have equal rights and opportunity to leave the boat. However this shouldn’t stop a true gentleman from letting the women go first. (I’m sure the captain of the ship would have probalby said, “every man for himself”…lol..)
    In practical, I think the bottom line should be evacuate and save as many lives as possible, could all that pussy footing around deciding who should or shouldn’t go first could cost valuble time in saving extra lives?
    My thoughts are with the families of those that either didn’t make it off the ship or that are missing. For those that did make it of safetly, how lucky they are.

  52. Mike Forsyth says:

    The Costa Concordia was close to shore and in relatively warm waters – should something like this happen in the middle of the Atlantic with a freak huge wave rendering half the lifeboats redundant it would turn into a fight for survival. I have seen old ladies pushed out of the way for businessmen to get on a shuttle flight first – and that isn’t life or death. I seem to remember that lifeboats are often not fully filled due to chaos – so I don’t think any selection is sensibly possible other than first come first seated.

    In any case the rule is that you step UP from the sinking ship to a lifeboat – wait for rescue craft/helicopters until the very last moment – lifeboats become pretty unpleasant vomit strewn containers in a short time.

    • Berber Anna says:

      Relatively warm waters? I read in the paper that people died of hypothermia after jumping into the water. Was that misreported?

    • Mike Forsyth says:

      Sea temp off Tuscany is January is 12 degrees C – everyone will be hypothermic after a time in the water, as you lose heat as soon as the water barrier hits your body and you start leaking your 37C body heat out to the void.

      Cold water shock kills people however, an involuntary gasp as you hit the cold water and you swallow the water. Heart attacks are also another result. Cruise folk are not known for their fitness are they?

  53. Ronda says:

    This is fascinating. By reading the comments, it seems that certainly chivalry is dead and the women’s rights movement has succeeded in erasing it, but when I went back and looked at poll results, it’s women and children first all the way. Makes me think that perhaps the outspoken ones are the minority, as is often the case. And btw, I didn’t vote. I can’t decide at all what I truly think. I am in favor of chivalry, but as woman, I’m not sure that I could accept it in that situation.

    • J. W. Fulton says:

      Other polls show just the opposite, and if actions speak louder than words, it appears that most men would not defer to a stranger…maybe assist them…but not stay on the ship if they thought it may lead to their death. Those on the Costa did not know the severity of the situation, and many feared the worst…..and men fled the same as the women. I would be less willing to listen to what people say in a poll, but more observant of what people do in the actual situation, and survival is important to everyone, regardless of gender.

  54. Kharamatha says:

    My partner or children first. If they aren’t on the boat, that doesn’t give me free allowance to just run of and die for strangers. I don’t know if I’d still put myself first if nobody wanted me back home, maybe I would.
    But as long as there is someone, yeah, women and children of my family before any other women and children. My heroism won’t clean the house, or shop for groceries.

    So how about sacrificing other men for other women and children? That wouldn’t really be brave in any particular way. At most it could be useful in a dying society with a desperate shortage of women and children, but there’s not much other credit in a decision like that. Kind of playing Robin Hood with people’s lives.

  55. Gail Hatton says:

    As a single female with no children, I would let women and children go first, I was asked recently on a questionnaire if I thought that saving a life was important, and I said yes, and I still believe that. I also believe that the majority of males WOULD let women and children off first, as there primal protective feelings would come up.

  56. Rudi says:

    If wanting women and children to go first makes me sexist, then I am happy to be sexist.

  57. Roy says:

    Let’s turn this around, I would like to ask all the ladies on here, how many of you would actually step off a sinking ship into a life boat to save your own life, knowing full well that you have just left one or more Male love one or friend stranded on a sinking ship ? (Dad, Son, Brother, Husband, Boyfriend, Granddad, Uncle, etc… )

  58. Mike Forsyth says:

    Apparently, 3 out of 4 women on the Titanic survived, however, 4 out of 5 men perished

    • Roy says:

      The protocol for the Titanic was

      1. Upper Class women and children first
      2. Upper Class Men
      3. Lower Class women
      4. Lower Class Men
      5. Crew members
      6. The Captain

      Imageing the outrage if this protocal was implicated today?

      Times and attitudes have change.

      Do I remain on a sinking ship until all the women and children are off due to moral obligation, or do I get off with my family and friends as staying on board a sinking ship would simply be suicidal, and any sugestion that I should remain on would be against my human rights and discrimination?

      In this mordern world, friends and family would stick together and get off as one united group and I’m sure that most men would put the safety of any children and women first in there own little group first closely followed by themself. I sure within reason, most family/friend groups would let another more needy group jump ahead of thiers in the event of an evacuation. Take alook at any evacuation over the past few decades and I think it is fair to say that this is what usually happens.

    • Mike Forsyth says:

      I had forgotten about the class layering – I assume a great deal of the dead were lower class men (who would also be in the lower parts of the Titanic too) – the deck crew did well out of the crew for surviving for being after the lower class men!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crew_members_on_board_RMS_Titanic

    • J. W. Fulton says:

      One has to look at the entire situation, and statistics can be spun many ways. No question the system favored women, but there were many, many more men on board the Titanic than women. More would have survived if they had just filled the life boats with passengers willing to get on, regardless of gender. Instead many lifeboats went out with unused capacity.

  59. Shelly brown says:

    I don’t think the women and children rule should still apply. I think it should be elderly people , disabled/or have physical problems children and them who can’t swim atall 1st. It’s only right. The stronger people have more chance of surviving without the lifeboats.

    • Mike Forsyth says:

      it is not down to strength, it is down to heat loss. Hypothermia will kill the strongest person. The strategy should be to fill the lifeboats as quickly as possible with the maximum number of lifes. Filling them entirely with children would satisfy that but has its own problem in that you probably need an adult to quell panic and to act as controller.

      Stay on the boat, on outside deck, until the very last moment. It is the safest place as it is dry and easier for rescue teams to find you.

    • Berber Anna says:

      The problem with that is that the boat was essentially capsizing (well, not fully, but it was tilting more and more to one side). When they finally started to evacuate into the lifeboats, there were boats that were too close to the water and boats that were too far above it to allow for safe release. So while staying on deck is generally a good idea, in this case it wasn’t the best thing to do, I think.

    • Mike Forsyth says:

      You will notice a large part of the boat is not in the water. I would stick with the part that was out of the water until someone rescued me, preferably by helicopter, but abseiling down, or down a ladder, to a welcome floating boat is a good alternative :-)

  60. hazzel says:

    If my interpretation would be the only one – 74 % of the men that answered this have a woman and/or children that they care about.

    That is, “You are not with your partner or children. ” would mean they are somewhere else on the boat.

  61. L.Long says:

    As my daughter pointed out to me.
    Yes Women and children 1st because although woman have been fighting for equality for some time they still do not have it.

  62. J. W. Fulton says:

    One might call it an old adage, but remember it is primarily the Titanic where the adage gained notriety. The Titanic officers lied to the passengers about the ultimate fate (which they knew), and many men thought this was the polite thing to do, not knowing it was their death sentence…and when it became more obvious, the “adage” was enforced by just a few men against many wishes. It never should have happened that way….too many boats went far short of capacity and many more could have survived. The goal in any disaster is to save as many souls as possible regardless of age or gender. Taking time to decide if this one or that one has priority only delays things and causes more death. Those ready to go should get on first. Crew are assigned to those with disabilites (or infirm) and most people would assist them to get on the boats.

    Recent cruise boat sinkings did not give priority to women for sure, the only priority is to assist those with disabilities, and everyone survived. The adage is and never was part of Maritime Law. Everyone’s life is of equal value, and while men may be overall stronger physically than women, many are far from the norm making gender an unreliable predictor of survival.

  63. I would have to say that under most conditions, it would be best not to have women and children go first but to have the boats filled in the most orderly and rapid manner possible. So for example, have everyone form lines where they stand and start boarding, rather than try to arrange those lines by age and gender.

    Trying to get the women and children on first would only complicate matters and could result in resistance from families that don’t want to be split up.

    The thing that would make this an issue would be the question of there not being enough lifeboats for everyone.

    That should never actually happen. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea requires that there always be enough life boats on each side of the ship for its maximum capacity of passengers and crew (this so that if one side can’t be launched there are still plenty) Many ships have even more than this.

    Therefore there should always be enough boats and often twice as many as needed.

    • Mike Forsyth says:

      It’s rather like the UK trains versus the Japanese ones. In Japan passengers line up on marks and there is an efficient movement of people off the train from designated doors and an efficient movement of people on the train. No women and children first.

      In the UK it is a complete riot with people being stopped leaving the train as people try to get on.

      Perhaps if the crew told passengers there were more than enough lifeboats that would help quell some of the panic.

  64. J.W Fulton says:

    And by some reports some crew were announcing women and children first on lifeboats. What a chaotic mess, and it is not in their training as it is an inefficient method (let alone gives the impression some lives are worth more than others). While that was probably an isolated incident, if at all true, no wonder some men panicked if they thought their gender may cost them their life.It would be the men who had to worry, not the women, so no one should be surprised many men refused the lower status and ignored it.

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  67. andre w says:

    I know it’s maybe late for an answer, but I think it comes down to 1st in line goes 1st (fifo priciple). Unless you volutarily sacrifice your ‘position’ for the woman and/or child behind you. No human life is more important than the next: makes no difference if you’r single,married,with or without children. All human life should be valued equal; otherwise it’s disrcimination based on sex or family status. Is a women with 4 children more ‘important’ then that 1 with 2 children? Or is the life of a engaged couple worth more than a single guy? NO, we’re all individuals when it comes down to it. (one day we’ll stand ‘INDIVIDUALLY’ before God; No bail outs or friends or familie’s assistance on that appointment.)

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