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  • Ramizah Tayiba

Femicide: A Global Fact Sheet

Many people try to ignore the patriarchy - but this is difficult to do when you hear about femicide.

Femicides are the murders of females for the sole purpose of being female. These are murders committed by people who subscribe to the notion that women are inferior. This practice has been tolerated for far too long. Femicides often include deaths resulting from domestic violence, human trafficking, and other gender-based violence.

The sheer numbers of femicides globally are shocking. UN statistics revealed that 87,000 women have been killed globally in 2017 alone. 58 percent of these women were killed by people they knew, such as spouses, fathers, brothers, or other relatives.


While men are four times as likely to be killed in a homicide, it is usually at the hands of a stranger rather than someone they know.  For women, their killers are the ones closest to them.  

This is most evident in places like Africa where 70 percent of femicides are committed by either spouses or family members. Asia has the highest rate of femicides committed by relatives with 20,000 murders in 2017

In many cultures, femicides are acceptable if the woman is deemed to have committed an act that can bring shame to the family such as pursuing a career, falling in love, or engaging in sexual intercourse before marriage. These murders are dubbed “honor killings” as families justify this crime by stating they were preserving honor and dignity. Honor killings are very prevalent in Pakistan with hundreds of them taking place annually. Afghanistan recorded 243 cases in two years. The actual numbers are believed to be higher. 

The UN reported that these murders are often executed horrifically. Women are shot, smothered, stabbed, burned, and even buried alive. 

Honor killings are the pinnacle of sexism and hatred towards women. The fact that murder threats are used to enforce and police women and their choices is a clear example of the barbaric patriarchy that is still prevalent today. 

In many cultures women are seen as inferior, this is why violence and abuse are often overlooked or even encouraged. 

Femicides are worldwide with some of the highest cases in Argentina, Honduras, India, Mexico, and El Salvador. In many of these nations, women are killed for becoming pregnant or engaging in intercourse. These countries also have numerous cases of domestic abuse.  

Protests have erupted worldwide to combat violence towards women, especially in Argentina. After 14-year-old Chiara Paez was buried alive by her boyfriend because she became pregnant, thousands took to the streets to protest the rising violence against women. Turkey followed suit after Pınar Gültekin, a 27-year-old from Istanbul was strangled to death by her partner. 

Without action, these murders will continue to run rampant. The UN estimates Argentina alone will see 1,390 femicides in the next 5 years if nothing is done. The silence encourages murderers to kill. 

The hope with protests is that it reveals the clear patriarchy that remains in many parts of the world. The hope is these protests will shed light on the violence inflicted on women by people in their inner circle and state clearly and loudly that killing women for their choices is grossly unacceptable. 

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