FEMINISM - Is that manly valour or sexism? Should a strong and able woman without a child get first dibs on the lifeboats? Are men's lives less valuable than women's?
Marine life wasn't always so chivalrous.
The tradition was launched in 1852 with the tragic sinking of the HMS Birkenhead off the coast of South Africa. Some 600 troops plus 20 women and children were also aboard. Although the ship's captain was of the "every man for himself'' mindset, the soldiers' commanding officer prevailed. He ordered his men to stand fast and allow the women and children into the few boats first.
The women and children survived while more than 400 gallant men died, either by drowning or by shark.
Understand that airlines don't, as a rule, have a policy of evacuating women and children first. It makes far more sense to go with passengers nearest the exits as this makes for a more orderly flow. See 150 Survive Jet Crash.
So its a nice idea, very chivalrous of the men, but in this day and age its by-and-by unnecessary because we all just want to get off in an orderly fashion.
Tiger Tanaka: Rule number one: never do anything yourself when someone else can do it for you.
James Bond: And rule number two?
Tiger Tanaka: Rule number two: in Japan, men come first, women come second.
James Bond: I just might retire to here.
Evidently there are times however when men have yet to learn that men and women both should take turns or go in the order that is most convenient.