Femicide, or feminicidio has come to be broadly defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as, “the intentional killing of females because they are females.” Feminists in Latin America adopted the term after a spate of brutal murders of young women in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, during the 1990s. It is recognised as a pandemic issue, and every year 66,000 women are violently killed globally.
Femicide is distinguishable from homicide as it is regarded as gender-motivated, and the term is often used to recognise the impact of inequality and discrimination against women. Among the top 25 countries with the highest femicide rates, 50 per cent are in Latin America. A study conducted by UN Women in 2018 suggests that in Mexico alone, nine women on average are murdered daily. Campaigners argue that violence against women in Mexico is so prevalent due to inherent patriarchal sociocultural values within Mexican society. With a deepening social awareness around this issue, a growing anti-femicide movement within Mexico have demanded a proactive response from the government to effectively combat femicide and the gender-based motives behind the killings.
Shifting cultural attitudes to recognise the role women play in society, and indeed the workplace, presents a challenge for the AMLO administration, but will be essential in ensuring the human right of women to live without fear for generations to come.