Nearly 89,000 women and girls were killed intentionally in 2022 across the globe, according to a new research brief, Gender-Related Killings of Women and Girls (Femicides/Feminicide), from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN Women.
The figure represents the highest yearly number recorded in the past two decades. Data currently available for 2022 suggests that the increase in female homicides occurred despite a drop in the overall number of homicides.
Fifty-five per cent (48,800) of all female homicides are committed by family members or intimate partners, underscoring the disturbing reality that home is far from a safe haven for women and girls. This means that, on average, more than 133 women or girls were killed every day by someone in their own home.
In contrast, 12 per cent of homicides against males are perpetrated in the home.
Moreover, the true scale of femicides may be much higher, as information on gender-related motivations is insufficient in roughly four out of ten female homicides, the research pointed out.
“The alarming number of femicides is a stark reminder that humanity is still grappling with deep-rooted inequalities and violence against women and girls,” said Ghada Waly, Executive Director of UNODC.
“Each life lost is a call to action – a plea to urgently address structural inequalities, to improve criminal justice responses, so that no woman or girl fears for her life because of her gender. Governments must invest in institutions that are more inclusive and well-equipped to end impunity, strengthen prevention, and help victims, from frontline responders to the judiciary, to end the violence before it is too late,” Waly added.
Women and girls in all regions experience this gender-based violence. For the first time since UNODC began publishing regional estimates in 2013, Africa surpassed Asia in 2022 as the region with the highest number of total victims (20,000).
Africa also witnessed the highest number of victims relative to the size of its female population (2.8 victims per 100,000 women), although the estimates are subject to uncertainty due to limited data availability.
Femicides committed by intimate partners or family members in North America increased by 29 per cent between 2017 and 2022, in part due to improved recording practices. Such killings also increased in the Caribbean by eight per cent over the same period, while decreasing in Central and South America by 10 per cent and eight per cent, respectively.
Europe also experienced a 21 per cent average reduction in these kinds of femicides since 2010.