Chapter 1: Introduction to the concept of femicide
Open access

This chapter examines the concept of femicide in social contexts and considers current approaches to femicide, its conceptual differences to other human rights violations, and sets out reasons for why conceptualizing femicide matters. It explains that femicide goes beyond the gender-related killing of a woman and covers sexual and other gender-based violence, equal access to justice and impunity. By means of radical feminist theory, I introduce femicide as a pattern of multiple acts targeting a female social group based on their gender, with the effect of objectifying, subordinating, humiliating, or instilling fear in, women, ultimately placing women and girls in a subordinate social status, where such violence remains unpunished by States. I exemplify femicide with the sexual enslavement of Yazidi women and girls in Iraq, the abduction of schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Nigeria, the murders of women and girls in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and domestic violence in Europe.