Gender Equality

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Amanda Lange Salvia, Tony Wall

Femicide and the Continuum of Gender Based Violence

  • Sheena SwemmerEmail author
Living reference work entry


Femicide can be defined as the intentional murder of a female because she is a female and/or identifies as female. According to the United Nations Latin American Model Protocol for the investigation of gender-related killings of women (femicide/feminicide), the term “femicide” comes from feminist activist, Diana Russell, who in the 1970s used the term to express an alternative to the neutral term “homicide.” This was with the political intention of recognizing that there are discrimination, inequality, and systematic violence that occur against women which in its most extreme form culminates in their death (United Nations 2015b).

The definition of femicide has also on occasion been interpreted expansively to include infant girls, girl children, and women. Yet, the narrower definition, inclusive of only women, is that which is found predominantly in legislation and policies in different jurisdictions around the world (World Health Organization 2012).

There are numerous forms...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Applied Legal StudiesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Section editors and affiliations

  • Julia Mambo
    • 1
  1. 1.Council for Scientific and Industrial Research - Natural Resources and EnvironmentJohannesburgSouth Africa