Identifying femicide locally and globally: Understanding the utility and accessibility of sex/gender-related motives and indicators

FWP Product
Academia / Research
Data Collection



Abstract of the paper: 

Femicide, the gender-related killing of women and girls, has received an unprecedented rise in international attention in the past decade, prompting increased discussions about how to define and measure femicide. Following a review of definitions and indicators, this article examines the utility of numerous sex/gender-related motives and indicators (SGRMIs) for distinguishing femicide from other homicides as well as the accessibility of these indicators in data sources typically accessed by social science researchers. Specifically, using a comprehensive database whose primary focus is femicide, the presence of SGRMIs in male-perpetrator/female-victim homicide – those killings most closely aligned with the concept of femicide – is compared to other perpetrator–victim gender combinations. Results show that multiple SGRMIs are more common in male-perpetrator/female-victim killings than other homicides, meaning they are useful for distinguishing femicide as a distinct type of violence. However, accessibility to information is weak with high proportions of missing data. Implications of these findings for prevention are discussed, including how data biases may be putting the lives of women and girls at risk and the need to emphasize prevention as the priority for data collection rather than administrative needs of governments.

Given the lack of variables and measures in current data collection instruments globally that can assist with femicide prevention, the lives of women and girls continue to be put at risk. Countries are not collecting the right data or, if these data exist, official gatekeepers are not making this information accessible to researchers and organizations with a focus on prevention. As such, despite some large-scale data efforts, most countries and world regions continue to face similar challenges in documenting femicide accurately. Therefore, a crucial question is: if we cannot document femicide in a reliable and valid manner, what is the hope of ever documenting, consistently and accurately, other forms of sexual violence or gender-related violence against women and girls?




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