Gender equality and female homicide victimization rates in the EU
2016 study on risk factors in 27 European countries
Gender as a risk factor
Gender as a risk factor is often overlooked in studies on homicide rates due to the fact that the majority of perpetrators and victims are men. However, at least one fifth of homicides victims are women and Europe has the second highest percentage of female homicide victims worldwide. Despite the prevalence of femicides in Europe, there is a significant lack of studies about gender equality in relation to female homicide victimization. Moreover, the results of existing research, which relied on simplistic and frequently indirect measures of gender equality, are inconsistent. Hence, theoretical predictions about the connection between gender equality and the prevalence of female homicide victims are still up for debate.
Three theories explaining gender equality and VAW
The existing literature is shaped by three main prevalent theories: The Amelioration hypothesis, the backlash hypothesis and the factor of economic marginalization. According to the amelioration hypothesis, as women's equality rises, violence against women should decline. Contrastingly, the backlash hypothesis outlines the phenomenon that as women’s equality and social status increases men feel threatened by their loss of status and thus retaliate with violence. Lastly, economic marginalization is an additional important factor as womens’ economic status makes them vulnerable to violence.