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Gendercide is a neologism that refers to the systematic killing of members of a specific sex.[1]

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] In addition to Sex-selective abortion, gendercide also takes the forms of infanticide, and lethal violence against a particular gender at any stage of life.

Origin of the term Edit

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.[3]

Femicide Edit

Main article: Femicide

Femicide is defined as the systematic killing of women for various reasons, usually cultural. The word is attested from the 1820s.[4] Multiple studies have shown[citation needed] that high rates of femicide also increase incidences of gang rape and girls being trafficked for sex on the black market. 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. Organizations such as All Girls Allowed, the United Nations, and Amnesty International have all spoken out in favor of efforts to end gender-selected abortions.

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 females in normal circumstances, have experienced radical changes.[6] Countries with high populations of immigrants, especially from Asian countries are also experiencing a rise in gender-selected abortions targeting females. Among the countries that have the highest levels of infanticide are China, India, Taiwan, etc.[7]

China’s culture has a strong preference for males. Because of their one-child policy, couples will selectively abort females until the desired male is conceived. Only five females are born for every six males in China. Gender-selected abortions are particularly a problem in regions of China where the one-child policy is more severely implemented. In 2005, there were 32 million more men than women under 20 in China.[8] In 2007, the national government estimated that China has 37 million more males than females. By 2020, the Chinese government estimates that there will be at least 30 million men of marriageable age that may be unable to find a spouse.[9] Sex Ratios at birth over time in China:[10] 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. One female is born for every two males in India.[11] 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.[12]

There have been reports of femicide in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.[13] The murders in Juarez are also known as las muertas de Juárez ("The dead women of Juárez"). According to the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: the victims of these crimes have mostly been young women, between 12 and 22 years of age. Many were students, and most were maquiladora [manufacturing] workers. A number were relative newcomers to Ciudad Juárez who had migrated from other areas of Mexico. The victims were generally reported missing by their families, with their bodies found days or months later abandoned in vacant lots, outlying areas or in the desert. In most of these cases there were signs of sexual violence, torment, torture or in some cases disfigurement.[14] According to Amnesty International as of February 2005 more than 370 young women and girls had been murdered in the cities of Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua.[15]

More recently, prosecutors from the state of Chihuahua reported that in 2010, 270 women were killed within the state, of these murders 247 occurred in Juarez.[16] In 2011, Chihuahua's Attorney General, Carlos Manuel Salas, announced during a briefing in August 2011 that 222 women had been killed in Chihuahua since January of that year.[17] Of these 222 murders, 130 of them occurred in Ciudad Juarez.[18]

Androcide Edit

Main article: Androcide

Template:Violence against men Androcide is the systematic killing of men for various reasons, usually cultural. Androcide may happen during war to reduce an enemy's potential pool of soldiers.

Androcide was a common practice in ancient times. Mythological accounts of the Greek takeover of Miletus in circa 9th century BC have the legendary son of Poseidon, Neleus, leading a massacre of the men of Miletus and settling the city in the Milesian men's stead.[19] Biblical androcides include the Massacre of the Innocents recounted in the Book of Matthew where Herod ordered the death of all males under the age of two in the town of Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Jesus,[20] and the massacre of Israelite males in the Book of Deuteronomy recounting the story of Moses in Egypt and the pharaoh’s decision that the Israelites were becoming too numerous so he ordered the death of all male infants.[21] Another Biblical account of androcide is the avenging of Dinah in the Book of Genesis where Dinah’s brothers, the sons of Jacob, killed all of the males in the city Shechem because Shechem, the son of Hamor and prince of the land, had raped Dinah when she went to visit the women of the town.[22]

The Czech village of Lidice, as part of the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was on orders from Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler completely destroyed by German forces in reprisal for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in the late spring of 1942. On 10 June 1942, all 173 men over 16 years of age from the village were murdered.[23]

More recent examples include the 1988 Anfal campaign against Kurdish males that were considered “battle-aged” (or approximately ages 15–50)[24][25] 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). This was launched immediately after the signing of a ceasefire with Iran, which allowed the transfer of large amounts of men and matériel from the southern battlefronts. The final Anfal focused on "the steep, narrow valleys of Badinan, a four-thousand-square mile chunk of the Zagros Mountains bounded on the east by the Great Zab and on the north by Turkey." Here, uniquely in the Anfal campaigns, lists of the "disappeared" provided to Human Rights Watch/Middle East by survivors "invariably included only adult and teenage males, with the single exception of Assyrians and Yezidi Kurds," who were subsidiary targets of the slaughter. Many of the men of Badinan did not even make it as far as "processing" stations, being simply "lined up and murdered at their point of capture, summarily executed by firing squads on the authority of a local military officer."[26]

Another recent 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.[27][28] 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).[29][30][31] These men were taken to a building in Potočari referred to as the “White House”. As early as the evening of 12 July 1995, Major Franken of the Dutchbat heard that no men were arriving with the women and children at their destination in Kladanj.[32] On 13 July 1995, Dutchbat troops witnessed definite signs that the Serb soldiers were murdering some of the Bosniak men who had been separated. For example, Corporal Vaasen saw two soldiers take a man behind the "White House", heard a shot and saw the two soldiers reappear alone. Another Dutchbat officer saw Serb soldiers murder an unarmed man with a single gunshot to the head and heard gunshots 20–40 times an hour throughout the afternoon. When the Dutchbat soldiers told Colonel Joseph Kingori, a United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) in the Srebrenica area, that men were being taken behind the "White House" and not coming back, Colonel Kingori went to investigate. He heard gunshots as he approached, but was stopped by Serb soldiers before he could find out what was going on.[33] Some of the executions were carried out at night under arc lights, and industrial bulldozers then pushed the bodies into mass graves.[34] According to evidence collected from Bosniaks by French policeman Jean-René Ruez, some were buried alive; he also heard testimony describing Serb forces killing and torturing refugees at will, streets littered with corpses, people committing suicide to avoid having their noses, lips and ears chopped off, and adults being forced to watch the soldiers kill their children.[35]

See also Edit


References Edit

  1. Warren, Mary Anne. Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection.
  2. The Economist. The War on Baby Girls: Gendercide. 4 March 2010
  3. Warren, Mary Anne. Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection.
  4. 2006 Random House Unabridged Dictionary
  5. United Nations Population Fund 2011.
  6. United Nations Population Fund 2011.
  7. The Economist. The War on Baby Girls: Gendercide. 4 March 2010
  8. All Girls Allowed. Gendercide in China Statistics Statistics About Gendercide in China
  9. All Girls Allowed. Gendercide in China Statistics Statistics About Gendercide in China
  10. All Girls Allowed. Gendercide in China Statistics Statistics About Gendercide in China
  11. Katz, Neal Sampson; Sherry, Marissa. FRONTLINE/World India:The Missing Girls
  12. Laurence, Jeremy. The Independent. The full extent of India’s ‘gendercide’
  13. Femicide and Gender Violence in Mexico
  14. Livingston, Jessica (2004). "Murder in Juárez: Gender, Sexual Violence, and the Global Assembly Line". Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 25 (1): 59-76.
  15. "Mexico: Justice fails in Ciudad Juarez and the city of Chihuahua". Amnesty International.
  16. Ortega Lozano, Marisela (24 August 2011). "130 women killed in Juárez this year; Chihuahua AG says fight for women's rights painful and slow". El Paso Times.
  17. Ortega Lozano, Marisela (24 August 2011). "130 women killed in Juárez this year; Chihuahua AG says fight for women's rights painful and slow". El Paso Times.
  18. Ortega Lozano, Marisela (24 August 2011). "130 women killed in Juárez this year; Chihuahua AG says fight for women's rights painful and slow". El Paso Times.
  19. 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
  20. The Bible
  21. The Bible
  22. The Bible
  23. Jan Kaplan and Krystyna Nosarzewska, Prague: The Turbulent Century p. 241
  24. Whatever Happened To The Iraqi Kurds? Human Rights Watch Report, 1991
  25. The Crimes of Saddam Hussein
  26. Iraq's Crime of Genocide, pp. 143-45. ISBN 0-300-06427-6
  27. Srebrenica Timeline
  28. Serbians Still Divided Over Srebrenica Massacre
  29. "Separation of boys, ICTY Potocari". 26 July 2000.
  30. "Separation,ICTY Sandici".
  31. "Separation,ICTY". 11 July 1995.
  32. ICTY, Prosecutor vs. Kristic, Judgement
  33. ICTY, Prosecutor vs. Kristic, Judgement
  34. Graham Jones. Srebrenica: A Triumph of Evil, CNN 3 May 2006
  35. Graham Jones. Srebrenica: A Triumph of Evil, CNN 3 May 2006

Further reading Edit

  • 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.
  • Russell, Diana E.H., ed.; Roberta A. Harmes (2001). Femicide in Global Perspective, Teachers College Press.
  • Sanford, Victoria (2008). Guatemala : Del Genocidio Al Feminicidio/From Genocide to Femicide, F&G Editores.

External links Edit

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