Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Gender-based killings: A closer look at the UNODC and UN Women study

Written By A Srinivasan (Grade 11)


UNODC and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women) jointly published a report last month pointing to an alarming trend: there were more gender cleansings in 2014–15 than ever, especially of women. The result of this research is a glimpse into the dark reality behind femicide or feminicide: only killing women out of pure spite, just because they are female. To appreciate the full extent of this serious situation, let us examine some key results from the study.

Understanding Femicide/Feminicide

Femicide is a gender-specific crime and an integral part of social consciousness. It differs from homicide in that it is determined by a person’s sex. Its different faces include: death at the hands of one’s partner or family member; because of misogyny; gender-based violence against women and girls; and even the limitations some societies place on what a woman can be.

Key Highlights of the Study

Femicide Trends

The annual report indicates that 89,001 women and girls were purposely killed all over the world in just this one year (2021). This is higher than any figure from this organisation published in the past 20 years. While global homicides were dropping in total, the number of female victims remained high.

Perpetrator-Victim Disparity

Intimate partner or family-related homicides tend to happen more often to women than men. Most homicides across the world are against men and boys—in 2022, some 80% of all killings. Women and girls account for around half (53%) of victims killed in homes and two-thirds (66%) of those killed by intimate partners.

Continental Trends

The number of women’s intimate partner/family-related homicides in Africa was more than twice the figure for Asia, marking a new peak in 13 years. Although the Americas had a smaller number of cases, homicides against women ended up with relatively higher rates per 100,000 females.

Regional Variations and Recent Changes

In terms of absolute numbers, Africa, with about 20,00 victims in 2023, passed Asia as the region with the most victims. Between 2010 and 2022, the rate of women killed by intimate partners or family went down in general across Europe, with a few exceptions. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic means there have been setbacks more recently.

India-Specific Insights

There has been a modest fall in gender-based killings over the past decade in India, but dowry-related deaths have remained a perennial problem. They ranked first as the number one cause of gender killings in India.


The conclusions drawn in a joint study by UNODC and UN Women are very disturbing. We must unite to strike at the root causes of femicide. Societies, governments, and international institutions must cooperate to create safe places for women everywhere. What are we waiting for? We cannot go on in this way, and our society can by no means permit discrimination, for which the extreme is criminal brutality.

Featured Image Courtesy – UNDP

A Srinivasan
A Srinivasan
I'm a passionate writer and I like writing on a regular basis in different fields and expanding my knowledge. I have been to a few workshops for writing which has tremendously moulded my writing ability and my way to present a topic.


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