An adage that has grown in popularity over time is that "women and children first" was a common instruction during maritime disasters, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. The Titanic especially pushed that idea forward, as 20 percent of the men on board survived, while 70 percent of the women did. However, a recent study found that the chivalrous idea of putting men last, is in fact a myth.
Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden examined records of 18 ship accidents from 1852 to 2011, involving more than 15,000 passengers and crew members. The incidents were selected for having complete data on survivors listed by number and gender, involving 100 individuals or more and where at least 5 percent either lived or died.
"The study suggests there isn’t a particular British tradition of women and children first," Lucy Delap, a lecturer in British history at Cambridge, who was not involved in the study told the New York Times. "No, actually women are less likely to survive on British ships, apart from the Titanic."
According to the results, in five cases there was no discernible difference in survival rates between men and women, and in ten of them, men survived at higher rates. When it came to crew members, it was very much an individual mentality, as compared to passengers, they were 18.7 percent more likely to survive a ship's sinking. Children drew the short straw, as in 621 of the ships, only 15.3 percent lived through the disaster.
In the business world, an "every man for himself" mindset will not push a company forward. To keep the idea of chivalry alive, an enterprise would be wise to pair with a third-party answering service, to ensure that each customer concern is properly handled. These professionals are available 24/7 through phone, email or text messaging, giving consumers the control over what method is most convenient to solve the issue at hand.