The Three Or Four Suspected Origins Of The Term “Ladies First.”

July 22, 2023 by

Many people have often wondered about the origin of this phrase.

Here are the most likely sources:

        1. Chivalry.  In the ancient past:

When cave dwellers used to hear sound from the outside, they would send the women out of the cave first so that the men could attack the bears and wild animals from behind.  

During the middle ages, knights used to place their coat over a puddle of mud, in order to allow women to pass over to the other side safely and cleanly.


        2. A love story in Italy.

Two lovers were so in love with one another that they decided to get married.  But, due to social circumstances, their parents did not approve of their marriage proposal.  As such, the couple decided to die together and so a plan of throwing themselves into the ocean developed.

The man decided to jump first because he did not want to see his lover drowning in front of him.  And thus, he jumped into the stormy sea first.  And now it was her turn, and yet she just stood there, decided not to jump, and returned back home to her parents.

Thus, after many men learned of this story, they have since decided to play it safe:  Ladies First!

        3. Women and Children First.

Many people believe this term was created to save the lives of women and children in dangerous and life-threatening situations.  Thus, after the Titanic hit the iceberg and sank, 74% of the women onboard were saved, 52% of the children were saved, but only 20% of the men survived.


Now which of these three origins seem right to you?  The choice is YOURS.


Or alternatively:


        4. The view.

You might have heard this one: “Ladies First” is just a nice way of saying “Let me look at your derrière as you walk in front of me.”  



Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.