Discriminating men on the Titanic


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Bob Godfrey

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Back in 1912 the policy of children first went without question, but the preferential treatment of women on the boat deck certainly did become a matter for debate in the light of then current demands for social equality. This is discussed, for instance, in a chapter of Wyn Craig Wade's book Titanic - End of a Dream. Wade also draws attention to variations of tradition within the world of 1912, notably that in some cultures the policy might well have been 'men and children first'.
 
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Analyses of the statistics of the sinking have been interpreted in quite a few different ways. Some people think they show that being in first class outweighed any considerations of gender differences, as does this writer.
This writer is not a statistician, and the figures from the sinking have been used for some years now as an exercise in correlation and significance, statistical techniques now being a bit more advanced than in 1912 when most commentators just looked at the %. One view is that they indicate that class was not really the issue, but that location on the ship was the main culprit in explaining the discrepancies in the number of men saved. The next writer is a statistician, not that that necessarily means a great deal, of course, since they are always quarreling with each other!
There are some quite complex analyses around on the Net, but the above are two that don't boggle the minds of the statistically challenged, like me. I have worked my way, with difficulty, through some of the others and I have dimly comprehended enough to understand that normal the gender / class arguments are not quite enough on their own.
 

Bob Godfrey

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There are of course accounts of men being ordered out at gunpoint (eg boat 2), and Woolner claimed that he and Steffansson helped to eject men from boat C: "We helped the officer pull these men out, by their legs and anything we could get hold of."
 
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