Annotated Bibliography on Femicide

Introduction  

On November 26, 2012, the Vienna Declaration on Femicide was signed by participants at a one-day symposium on femicide convened by the Academic Council on United Nations System (ACUNS). This important symbolic event comes more than 40 years after Diana Russell first used the term in 1976 testifying at the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women in Brussels.

During the past four decades, there has been periodic and important research on femicide; however, in the past decade, there has been a clear increase in grassroots, academic, and government attention. In part, this is due to efforts of those concerned about high femicide rates in some countries/world regions, leading to legislative efforts and initiatives to better respond to femicide. This has also led to use of the term ‘feminicide’ by some to highlight the impunity with which these crimes are often treated in some parts of the world (e.g. Latin America) or when perpetrated against some groups of women (e.g. Indigenous women and girls, poor women).

Increasing attention to femicide has lead to a rise in debates and discussions about how to define or classify femicide; what we currently know about its prevalence and characteristics of those involved; how to document it more accurately; how countries can better prevent femicide, particularly for some groups; what punishments are appropriate; and whether/how states are contributing to the problem with inadequate or non-existent responses.

The research highlighted in an evolving annotated bibliography closely adheres to Russell’s definition of femicide as “the killing of one or more females by one or more males because they are female,” including primarily articles, reports, books and other publications that use the term femicide (or feminicide) explicitly in the title or abstract. While this excludes some important work that arguably captures killings of women by men because they are women, it underscores the importance of using the term to directly name the phenomenon for what it is – femicide – rather than using more gender-neutral terms (e.g. intimate partner, domestic, or family homicide). Given burgeoning literature in the recent decade on these latter phenomena, it also provided parameters that made the initial selection of articles more focused and manageable.

While numerous countries will be represented, some world regions are more active in researching and addressing femicide. What is also clear is that many disciplines are seeking to better understand, document and respond to femicide as shown by the journals in which research has been published, ranging from the expected – sociology, social work, law, criminology – to the less expected – gynaecology and obstetrics, and pediatrics, underscoring the multidisciplinary foci required to adequately understand femicide.

Regardless of world region or discipline, the research will represent key works and recent and innovative approaches to the study of femicide.

A note to readers: This annotated bibliography will be a ‘living’ document that will be added to and updated regularly. In doing so, we will also begin to feature important work that does not use the term ‘femicide/feminicide’, but does still contribute to our knowledge in this field. Therefore, we encourage visitors to come back often and to let us know if there are publications that they feel are relevant and should be included by emailing cfoja@uoguelph.ca.

A note to the authors referenced: Please touch base with us if you feel that we have not highlighted the core focus of your work adequately. We restricted each citation to 250 words or less and have strived to focus on the core content of each article. However, we would be happy to revise to better reflect what your feel are the key learnings from your research if not already done so.