According to a new UNODC/UN Women study, more than five women or girls were killed by someone in their own family every hour in 2021. The report, released in advance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, serves as a chilling reminder that violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread human rights violations worldwide.
Also Read: Changing Phase of Relationships in India
56 per cent (45,000 out of 81,000) of all women and girls intentionally killed last year were killed by intimate partners or other family members, demonstrating that home is not a safe place for many women and girls. Meanwhile, private homicides account for 11% of all male homicides. This year's figures also show that the overall number of female homicides has remained largely unchanged over the last decade, emphasising the need for stronger action to prevent and respond to this scourge. Even though these figures are concerning, the true scale of femicide may be much higher. Too many victims of femicide continue to go uncounted—due to inconsistencies in definitions and criteria across countries, there is insufficient information to identify roughly four in ten women and girls killed intentionally in 2021 as femicide, particularly in public.
While femicide is a problem that affects every country in the world, the report shows that in absolute numbers, Asia recorded the highest number of gender-related killings in the private sphere in 2021, while women and girls in Africa were more likely to be killed by their intimate partners or other family members. In 2021, the rate of private-sector gender-related killings in Africa was estimated to be 2.5 per 100,000 female population, compared to 1.4 in the Americas, 1.2 in Oceania, 0.8 in Asia, and 0.6 in Europe. At the same time, the findings suggest that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 coincided with a significant increase in private gender-related killings in Northern America and, to a lesser extent, Western and Southern Europe.
The UN agencies recommended that countries improve their data collection on femicides and address the root causes of these killings, such as changing harmful masculinities and social norms to begin to eliminate structural gender disparities.