Femicides at a twenty-year peak across globe | Data
Premium

In India, dowry-related reasons continue to be the leading cause of femicide

November 28, 2023 03:52 pm | Updated 04:06 pm IST

Women are more likely to be murdered by their partners or someone known to them

Women are more likely to be murdered by their partners or someone known to them | Photo Credit: ZUBADA

About 88,900 women and girls were intentionally killed worldwide on the grounds of gender-related factors in 2022, a recent study from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN Women shows. This is the highest number of such fatalities in a year, in the past 20 years. 

Chart 1 | The chart shows the year-wise murder of women/girls (femicide) across the globe for gender-related reasons.

Chart appears incomplete? Click to remove AMP mode.

The UN study titled “Gender-related killings of women and girls (femicide/feminicide)”, published in November, also showed that while the total number of homicides worldwide decreased in 2022, femicide increased.

Chart 2 | The chart shows the male and female share of homicide victims.

In general, victims of homicides worldwide tend to be men or boys. As shown in Chart 2, men formed 80% of the total victims of homicide in 2022, while women’s share was 20%. When the data is examined based on the perpetrators of these murders, a significant disparity becomes evident between female and male victims. Women are more likely to be murdered by their partners or someone known to them. This extends from the fact that women are subjected to physical violence mostly from their immediate family members.

Chart 3 | The chart shows the share of intimate partner/family-related homicides among all female and male homicides.

Chart 3 shows that of the 88,900 female victims of homicides in 2022, 48,800 or 55% were killed by family members or intimate partners. Only 12% of male homicide victims were killed by persons known to them.

Chart 4 | The chart shows the continent-wise split of the share of intimate partner/family-related homicides among all female and male homicides.

This trend of women being more vulnerable to gender-related violence by family is prevalent across the globe. Across all regions, the share of such homicides among women in which perpetrators are known was higher than in the case of men. For instance, in over half the female homicides in Europe, the perpetrators are partners or related to the victims, whereas among men the share was only 18%. In the Americas, too, the disparity showed (45% among women homicides and 12% among men homicides).

In 2022, there were about 20,000 female victims of intimate partner/family-related homicide in Africa, the highest among continents. The African continent exceeded Asia in femicides for the first time in 13 years. In Asia, 18,400 women were killed by their families during the same period. Notably, while the Americas reported 7,900 such cases, the rate of such femicides per 100,000 female population was 1.5, making it the second-highest after Africa, which had a rate of 2.8. Asia’s rate was 0.8.

Click to subscribe to our Data newsletter

Data also suggests that there was a general trend of reduction in gender-related killings of women before 2021, though it increased drastically in 2021 and 2022, especially in Africa.

According to three national studies conducted in South Africa across 18 years, the female intimate partner homicide rate halved between 1999 and 2017. But in recent years, the rate increased from 9 victims per 1 lakh women in 2019 to 12.7 victims per 1 lakh women at the end of 2022.

There has been a small decline in gender-based killings in India over the past decade. That said, the killing of women due to dowry-related reasons, accusations of witchcraft and other gender-related factors still persists.

Chart 5 | The chart shows the number of gender-related deaths in India between 2016-2021 and the reasons behind it.

Dowry has consistently been the leading cause, while honour killings and murder related to witchcraft accusations, formed a small share too during this period.

Source: “Gender-related killings of women and girls (femicide/feminicide)“ published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN Women

Also read |Data | In eight States, including Karnataka and Maharashtra, domestic violence rose in 2019-20

Listen to our podcast | What decides women’s marital age — wealth, education or caste | Data Point podcast

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.