Mark Steyn is only partly right in his mining for meaning the events surrounding the sinking of the Costa Concordia.
It's true that "women and children first" was once a normative phrase that captured a code of conduct, a code that is fast becoming passé in the West.
What he leaves out is that it's become instead, and sadly so, an increasingly accurate descriptive phrase that captures perfectly a class of people who do go first, whether they should or not. (If, that is, it's even possible to use words like should or ought in a properly multicultural society.) "Women and children" is now descriptive of, well, descriptive of almost everyone, male and female, young and old, able and infirm, etc.. We're all equal after all and that's exactly as it should be. (Here's one place where should is not only allowed, but demanded.)