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Gendercide is the systematic killing of members of a specific gender.[1] The term is related to the general concepts of assault and murder against victims due to their gender, with violence against women and men being problems dealt with by human rights efforts.

Gendercide shares similarities with the term 'genocide' in inflicting mass murders; however, gendercide targets solely one gender, being men or women. Politico-military frameworks have historically inflicted militant-governed divisions between femicide, and androcide; gender-selective policies increase violence on gendered populations due to their socioeconomic significance.

Gendercide is reported to be a rising problem in several countries. Census statistics report that in countries such as China and India, the male to female ratio is as high as 120 men for every 100 women.[2] Gendercide also takes the forms of infanticide and lethal violence against a particular gender at any stage of life.

The Holocaust falls within the category of genocide but can also be categorized as gendercide; in such instances, women were chosen for execution more than their male counterparts, and females were sent to 'work camps' where many were killed. Patriarchal structures that conceive females as responsible for breeding future combatants, are, along with the elderly and the young, "targeted as part root-and-branch extermination";[3] the culling of the women is perceived as severing reproduction.


Origin of the termEdit

The term gendercide was first coined by American feminist Mary Anne Warren in her 1985 book, Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection. It refers to gender-selective mass killing. Warren drew "an analogy between the concept of genocide" and what she called "gendercide". In her book, Warren wrote:

By analogy, gendercide would be the deliberate extermination of persons of a particular sex (or gender). Other terms, such as "gynocide" and "femicide," have been used to refer to the wrongful killing of girls and women. But "gendercide" is a sex-neutral term, in that the victims may be either male or female. There is a need for such a sex-neutral term, since sexually discriminatory killing is just as wrong when the victims happen to be male. The term also calls attention to the fact that gender roles have often had lethal consequences, and that these are in important respects analogous to the lethal consequences of racial, religious, and class prejudice.[1]


Femicide is defined as the systematic killing of women for various reasons, usually cultural. The word is attested from the 1820s.[4] According to the United Nations, the biologically normal gender ratio at birth ranges from 102 to 106 males per 100 females. However, ratios higher than normal – sometimes as high as 130 – have been observed. This is now causing increasing concern in some South Asian, East Asian, and Central Asian countries.[5] Such disparities almost always reflect a preference for boys as a result of deeply embedded social, cultural, political and economic factors.

The most widespread form of femicide is in the form of gender-selective infanticide in cultures with strong preferences for male offspring such as China and India. According to the United Nations, male-to-female ratios, which range from 102–106 boys for every 100 girls in normal circumstances, have experienced radical changes.[5]

Sex ratios at birth over time in China:[6]

  • 106:100 in 1979 (106 boys for every 100 girls)
  • 111:100 in 1988
  • 117:100 in 2001
  • 120:100 in 2005

In India, male children are preferred because the parents are looking for heirs who will take care of them in their old age. Additionally, the cost of a dowry, the price the family has to pay for their daughter to be married off, is very high in India; while a male heir would bring a dowry to the family by way of marriage. According to the British publication, The Independent, the 2011 census revealed 7.1 million fewer girls than boys aged under the age of seven, up from 6 million in 2001 and from 4.2 million in 1991. The sex ratio in the age group is now 915 girls to 1,000 boys, the lowest since records began in 1961.[7]

The honor killing and self-immolation condoned or tolerated by the Kurdish administration in Iraqi Kurdistan has been labeled as "gendercide" by Mojab (2003).[8]

There have been reports of femicide in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico[9] where 411 assassinations of women were qualified as serial and/or of sexual characteristic, by domestic violence, intimate femicides and hatred against women as serial and/or of sexual characteristic, by domestic violence, intimate femicides and hatred against women.[10] The response to these murders is the criminalisation of feminicide in the country.[11]

Contemporary mechanisms of gendercide lie within sexualized violence against women; the females of "sub-Saharan Africa (Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola) in areas that are also at the heart of the "AIDS belt"",[3] are not only at-risk due to living in the places where "the current cases of large-scale rape",[3] but also susceptible to contracting HIV.ess popularized tactics of gendercide against women include the systemic withholding of critical medical, and nutritional care, predominantly occurring "across the belt of "deep patriarchy" extending from East through West Asia and into Northern Africa";[12] female life-spans are decreasing substantially and are falling within the teen-to-thirties range due to deaths during gestation periods through childbirth. Adam Jones, co-founder of Gendercide Watch, an online research platform created to spread awareness, estimates that the denial of healthcare for women equates to approximately the same toll than that of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide per year.[12]

Over 200,000 die from haemorrhage, giving birth in buses or bullock carts. Lack of health education restricts commonplace medical knowledge, thus bystanders are unable to offer assistance. In addition, the casualty rate from self-administered abortions is roughly 75,000. Eclampsia, a condition possible pre, during, and post childbirth, is characterized by seizures due to high blood pressure, kill another 75,000 through damage to the brain and kidneys. Moreover, 100,000 die from sepsis; contracted through untreated infections of the uterus and remaining fragments of the placenta that poison the bloodstream. Also, female casualties due to labour obstructions stagger around the 400,000 range.

Adam Jones, drafted possible solutions to aid the crisis in Africa. He concluded treatment "would mean training some 850,000 health workers, according to UNICEF and World Health Organization reports, as well as [funding] the necessary drugs and equipment. The total cost would be US $200 million, about the price of half a dozen jet fighters".[12]

In the United States, femicide is the leading cause of death among African American women between the ages 15–45 and it is also the seventh leading cause of death among all women. There have been cases reported that attempts of femicide happened in same sex relationships.[13]


Androcide is the systematic killing of men or boys for various reasons, usually cultural.[citation needed] Androcide may happen during war to reduce an enemy's potential pool of soldiers.[citation needed]

Examples include the 1988 Anfal campaign against Kurdish males that were considered "battle-aged" (or approximately ages 15–50)[14][15] in Iraqi Kurdistan. While many of these deaths took place after the Kurdish men were captured and processed at concentration camp, the worst instances of the gendercide happened at the end of the campaign (August 25 – September 6, 1988).[citation needed]

Another incident of androcide was the Srebrenica massacre of approximately 8,000 Bosniak men and boys on July 12, 1995, ruled as an act of genocide by the International Court of Justice.[16][17] From the morning of 12 July, Serb forces began gathering men and boys from the refugee population in Potočari and holding them in separate locations, and as the refugees began boarding the buses headed north towards Bosniak-held territory, Serb soldiers separated out men of military age who were trying to clamber aboard. Occasionally, younger and older men were stopped as well (some as young as 14 or 15).[18][19][20]

In fictionEdit

The 2003 film Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women, an Indian movie directed by Manish Jha, features a dystopian situation resulting in 2050 from accumulated violence against women over many years. A wealthy man in one village discovers the existence of a young woman not too far from his home, and he buys the woman as a sex slave to be used by him and his sons. In this wretched town in which only men exist aside from the women, the wealthy man's family is torn apart while the victim finds herself mercilessly dominated by more men. The film received critical acclaim, with the frank nature of the brutality and despair portrayed being cited by many reviewers, and it sparked increased debate over the contemporary problem of rape in India and other human rights issues in the nation.[21]

The 1985 book The Handmaid's Tale depicts a story of a fascist military dictatorship controlled by a clique of theocratic ideologues. With the population of both men and women having been vastly cut down, fertile women are relatively scarce and mass numbers of non-fertile women are forced into becoming unpersons. Fertile women are regarded as property with few rights, being unable to read and do other basic activities. Canadian author Margaret Atwood created the work as a warning about totalitarianism and oppression of women in the modern age; in particular, she had experienced a fellowship in the then divided Berlin in the early 1980s, visiting the Soviet-dominated areas and witnessing a general despair, which helped inspire the book's beginnings.[22][23][24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Warren, Mary Anne. Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection. ISBN 0-8476-7330-8.
  2. ^ The Economist. The War on Baby Girls: Gendercide. 4 March 2010
  3. ^ a b c Adam Jones (2000) Gendercide and genocide, Journal of Genocide Research, 2:2, 185-211, DOI: 10.1080/713677599
  4. ^ 2006 Random House Unabridged Dictionary
  5. ^ a b United Nations Population Fund 2011.
  6. ^ All Girls Allowed. Gendercide in China Statistics Statistics About Gendercide in China
  7. ^ Laurence, Jeremy. The Independent. The full extent of India's 'gendercide'
  8. ^ Shahrzad Mojab. (2003). Kurdish Women in the Zone of Genocide and Gendercide. Al-Raida 21(103): 20–25. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  9. ^ Femicide and Gender Violence in Mexico
  10. ^ "Feminicidio". INEGI. Encuentro Internacional de Estadística de Género. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  11. ^ Garita Vílchez, Ana Isabel. "Cuadro No.6. Elementos del tipo penal. Chile. Código Penal". La regulación del delito de feminicidio/feminicio en América Latina y El Caribe (PDF) (in Spanish). Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-936291-74-8. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Adam Jones (2013) Gendercide: Examining gender-based crimes against women and men, Clinics in Dermatology, 31:2, 226-229, ISSN 0738-081X,
  13. ^ Glass, Nancy, Jane Koziol-McLain, Jacquelyn Campbell, and Carolyn Rebecca Block. 2004. Female-perpetrated femicide and attempted femicide: A case study. Violence Against Women 10 (6): 606-25
  14. ^ Whatever Happened To The Iraqi Kurds? Human Rights Watch Report, 1991
  15. ^ The Crimes of Saddam Hussein
  16. ^ Srebrenica Timeline
  17. ^ Serbians Still Divided Over Srebrenica Massacre
  18. ^ "Separation of boys, ICTY Potocari". 26 July 2000.
  19. ^ "Separation, ICTY Sandici".
  20. ^ "Separation, ICTY". 11 July 1995.
  21. ^ "Where women are extinct: Matrubhoomi". Indian Express. 23 July 2005. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  22. ^ Robertson, Adi (December 20, 2014). "Does The Handmaid's Tale hold up?". The Verge. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  23. ^ Bradley J. Birzer (June 13, 2015). "A Decadent Hell Hole: The Dystopia of "A Handmaid's Tale"". The Imaginative Conservative. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  24. ^ Margaret Atwood (20 January 2012). "Haunted by The Handmaid's Tale". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2015.

Further readingEdit

  • A comprehensive analysis of gendercide in China was delivered by author Talia Carner at the 2007 U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.
  • Warren, Mary Anne (1985). Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection. Rowman & Allanheld. ISBN 0-8476-7330-8.
  • Russell, Diana E.H., ed.; Roberta A. Harmes (2001). Femicide in Global Perspective. Teachers College Press. ISBN 0-8077-4047-0.
  • Sanford, Victoria (2008). Guatemala : Del Genocidio Al Feminicidio/From Genocide to Femicide. F&G Editores. ISBN 99922-61-88-9.
  • Shahrzad Mojab. (2003). Kurdish Women in the Zone of Genocide and Gendercide. Al-Raida 21(103): 20–25.

External linksEdit