It's commonly known that the news reports female casualties separately. As in "four people were shot, including one woman". What is the reasoning behind this? Is anyone who knows about the news reporting process able to answer?

  • It has similarly bothered me whenever the reporter counts the Americans separately. "130 people died in the plane crash, including 12 Americans." I assume other countries do it as well. I'm wondering whether I should care more about those 12, or ask, "But wait! How many were French?"
    – IchabodE
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


Makes an emotional and social impact

Making a point of how many women and/or children perished or were harmed in a given event makes a larger emotional and social impact. It turns the causative entity into a cruelty or an horror, be it an impersonal force such as nature or certain views on god(s), or be it a personal force such as a person, group of persons, or representational organization.

Most cultures, regardless of how advanced they see themselves, will in reality react more strongly to harm towards the female or the young of the species.

The news is in the business of selling stories. And stories with a twist or a bang sell more.


Do they really still do that? The origins are not hard to guess at. It has been a fundamental social presumption for centuries that the essential role of men is to protect women and children. On sinking ships, the rule was women and children first, and woe betide a man who survived a shipwreck in which a woman or child perished.

And of course this rule was pretty much a practical necessity at anytime up to the creation of civilian police forces. Routine protection of persons in everyday life was simply not a function of government up until quite recently, or at least no one it had the means to effectively carry out.

But do they really still do it? And if they do, is it perhaps just a cultural survival, or do we really still think that women's lives matter more?

  • 4
    I just googled the word "civilians" and the third top story had the headline "Dozens of civilians, incl women & children, killed ..." So I guess they do still do that.
    – sudowoodo
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 18:49
  • @MarkBaker Love you man, but answering with a question is bad form. Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 12:22
  • In Israel, I've never seen it done, unless the woman was pregnant. You do see "mother killed protecting her children", but that's about making the victim human, not faceless. It could have just as easily been "father killed protecting his children". However, Hebrew is a gendered language, so "soldier killed", for instance, is automatically either "male soldier killed" or "female soldier killed" - there's no neutral. Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 13:25

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