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Chapter 27: Feminicides / Femicides

Femicide Companion Website: Jennifer, Mariel, & Ashtin



  • Chapter Summary
  • Suggested Film(s)
  • Suggested Literature
  • Videos
  • Articles 
  • Suggested Podcasts
  • Artwork & Related Articles
  • Organizations to Get Involved With
  • Self-assessment exercises


Chapter Summary

Feminicide or femicide is the political concept developed by feminists to describe the killing of women as a hate crime against them. Often, these killings result from a progression from other forms of gender-based violence (GBV), embedded in broader forms of structural, cultural, symbolic violence (Bourdieu, 2001; Galtung, 1990) and necropolitics (Mbembe, 2003; Wright, 2011). Its perpetrators could be intimate partners, former intimate partners, acquaintances, relatives, or unknowns. Through negligence, indifference, legal and institutional violence (Maya Restrepo, 2009; Menjívar & Abrego, 2012), states participate directly or indirectly in the complexity of these crimes. This chapter explores how femicide has evolved in activism and its impacts in international law and national legislation particularly through the cases of feminicides in Juárez, Chihuahua in Mexico and the case of Campo Algodonero. It provides analytical tools to reflect and comprehensively understand the phenomenon from human rights and gender perspectives. (Pulled directly from book)


Suggested Films

  • Documentary “Las Tres Muertes de Marisela Escobedo” (2020) on Netflix (suggested from book). 
    • Trailer: Las tres muertes de Marisela Escobedo | Tráiler oficial | Netflix
    • This film covers social activist Marisela Escobedo, who worked to expose the failings of Mexico’s justice system and the way femicides are handled in the country. Marisela’s 16-year old daughter was a victim to femicide in Ciudad Juárez when she was murdered by her boyfriend. 
  • Documentary “Juarez: The City Where Women are Disposable” (2008) directed by Alex Flores. Written by Alex Flores and Lorena Paula Vassolo. Available on YouTube.
    • Juarez: The City Where Women Are Disposable – 2008
    • This is a documentary covering the increase in femicide cases in Ciudad Juárez since 1993. Alex Flores is the director of this documentary; through the film you will hear directly from the family members of femicide victims. You will also get an insight into the government’s lack of support in these cases through the testimonies of activists and journalists. 
  • Documentary “On the Edge: The Femicide in Ciudad Juarez” (2006) directed by Steev Hise. DVD available to purchase on Amazon or Ebay. 
    • This film looks at the murder cases of femicide victims in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The documentary focuses on different factors of society that have contributed to the increasing number of femicide victims in Ciudad Juárez. 


Suggested Literature

  • The Femicide Machine, Sergia Gonzalez Rodriguez (2012). 
    • The first book of Sergia Gonzalez Rodriguez to be translated into English discusses the victims of femicide and the connection of their murders to drug trafficking and gangs. He focuses on the “machines” that make these murders possible, such as police machines, economic machines, etc. 
  • Femicide and the Law: American Criminal Doctrines, Hava Dayan (2020).
    • This book focuses on femicide in America and analyzes the doctrines of the felony murder rule, provocation, and self-defence. The book also provides legal recommendations to improve unaddressed areas of the American Model Penal Code. 
  • This Love Is Not for Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juarez, Robert Andrew Powell (2012). 

    • In this book Robert Andrew Powell follows the Indio’s, Ciudad Juarez’s soccer team, across Mexico while they compete in their season. While this book is following a sports team, Powell emphasizes the struggles he witnesses throughout his country and the complicity of the North. The effects of femicide and other violent crimes cannot be ignored in this account by Powell. 



  • Leadership Moves with Mallika Dutt: Leading the Pursuit of Justice and Defending Human Rights While Risking Everything with Ana Lorena Delgadillo Perez. Available on Youtube. 

      • Pursuing Justice and Defending Human Rights While Risking Everything w/ Ana Lorena Delgadillo Perez
      • You were able to read a conversation with Ana Lorena Delgadillo in the book, and now you can hear directly from her in a recent interview she did in February, 2022. In this video Mallika Dutt interviews Ana Lorena Delgadillo about her activism and the legal charges she has brought against the Mexican government in their mishandling of femicide cases. You will also hear directly from Ana about the backlash she has received from the government and how they are investigating her due to her working with the families of femicide victims who are questioning their investigations. This is a great video to learn more about Ana and the amazing work she does. 
    • Video VICE News: Women Are Being Killed With Impunity in Mexico
      • Women Are Being Killed With Impunity in Mexico
      • This video covers femicide in Ciudad Juárez and the effects COVID-19 has had on these cases. You will hear from a domestic abuse survivor and her abuser, families of femicide murder victims, and a man who is hired for contract to murder women. 
  • Femicide in Ciudad Juárez: Our Pursuit for Justice

    • Femicide in Ciudad Juárez: Our Pursuit for Justice
    • This video from Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is highlighting a mother, Paula Flores Bonilla, of a femicide victim in Juarez who is looking for justice for her missing daughter. The video emphasizes how violence against women has only increased since the 90’s and shows the state’s lack of action to create change.
    • If you want more details on this case check out the source titled “Interamerican Court of Human Rights. “Silvia Elena Rivera Morales et a. (Girls and Young Women Disappeared and Murdered in Ciudad Juarez) vs Mexico”, Sep. 29, 2017” under Articles/Readings. 



  • I am not positive if this is the best type of rss feed for femicide news but here is a link that does include articles from many different areas around the world.
  • Interamerican Court of Human Rights. “Silvia Elena Rivera Morales et a. (Girls and Young Women Disappeared and Murdered in Ciudad Juarez) vs Mexico”, Sep. 29, 2017. 
    • This case overviews six petitions from mothers and families of femicide victims who claim the state has failed in its handling of their cases. The claims of these families are focused on the violations of the right to life and human treatment of women. 
  • Interamerican Court of Human Rights. “Case González et al. (“Cotton Field”) vs Mexico”, judgment Nov. 16, 2009. (suggested from book)
  • Mecanismo de Seguimiento de la Convención de Belém do Pará -MESECVI- (Follow-up Mechanism of the Convention of Belém do Pará, in English). “Declaration on Femicide”, adopted at the Fourth Meeting of the Committee of Experts on August 15, 2008; Washington, D.C. Organization of American States’ document: OEA/Ser.L/II.7.10 and MESECVI/CEVI/DEC. 1/08. (suggested from book)
    • This document discusses femicide in Latin America and the Caribbean and provides declarations made by the committee. The committee also provides recommendations to the state and media to work to improve the prevalence of femicide, and works to have femicide adopted as a term in legislation.
  • Dubravka Šimonović, “2016 Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences”, United Nations’ document: A/71/398, September 23, 2016. (suggested from book)
    • Violence against women, its causes and consequences :
    • Special rapporteur reports are a great way to learn about human rights violations from someone directly in the field. This report written by Special Rapporteur, Dubravka Šimonović, provides an account on violence against women, what the causes are, and what the effects of this type of violence are. Dubravka discusses the topic of femicide through this report and proposes a multi-level system of femicide watch. 
  • UN General Assembly (2013). “Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 18 December 2013: 68/191 Taking action against gender-related killing of women and girls”. United Nations’s document: A/RES/68/191. (suggested from book)
    • Taking action against gender-related killing of women and girls :
    • The UN General Assembly presents a report on resolutions in response to the increase in gender-related killings of women and girls. This report explains the level of concern behind these killings and provides actionable recommendations to member states to decrease the frequency of femicide. 
  • Tiroch, Katrin (2010). “Violence Against Women by Private Actors: The Inter-american Court’s Judgment in the Case of Gonzalez et al. (cotton field) v. Mexico”, 14(1) Max Planck Y.B. U.N. L. 371 (2010), (e-article available at the UA library). (suggested from book)
  • García-Del Moral, P., & Neumann, P. (2019). The Making and Unmaking of Feminicidio/Femicidio Laws in Mexico and Nicaragua. Law and Society Review, 53(2), 452–486 (suggested from book)
    • Femicide and feminicide have been criminalized in Mexico and Nicaragua through the activism of local feminists; this article discusses this activism in further detail. This article also discusses how the state often undermines the laws that exist to prevent gendered violence, which has caused activists to focus on increasing the accountability of the state in regards to feminicide. 
  • Toledo, P. (2017). Criminalisation of femicide / femicide in Latin American countries. Rivista Di Criminologia, Vittimologia e Sicurezza, XI(2), 43–60. (suggested from book)
  • Carrigan, M., & Dawson, M. (2020). Problems Representations of Femicide / Feminicide Legislation in Latin America. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 9(2), 1–19. (suggested from book)
    • This study discusses feminicide in Latin America and assesses the current legislation that exists on the subject. The study also provides recommendations to improve future legislation in Latin America, and can even be expanded to other areas of the world. 
  • Farmer, P. (2004). An Anthropology of Structural Violence. Current Anthropology. Vol. 45, No. 3. 305-325
    • An Anthropology of Structural Violence1
    • This article assesses the epidemics of AIDS and tuberculosis in Haiti, which are the leading cause of death among young adults. This article looks at the connection between poverty and social inequalities (which are often amplified through these epidemics) and how they relate structural violence. 
  • Mbembe, A. (2003). Necropolitics. Public Culture, Vol 15, No. 1. Duke University. 11-40.
    • mbembe_22necropolitics22.pdf
    • This article demonstrates “the notion of biopower is insufficient to account for contemporary forms of subjugation of life to the power of death.” The author draws a connection between necropower and necropolitics to the use of weapons as destruction of people, and discusses the lines that become blurred under necropower.   
  • Dawson M, Carrigan M. Identifying femicide locally and globally: Understanding the utility and accessibility of sex/gender-related motives and indicators. Current Sociology. 2021;69(5):682-704.
  • Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167–191.
    •  Violence, Peace, and Peace Research
    • This article takes a deep dive into defining peace and different forms of violence, such as structural violence vs. personal violence. 
  • Bouzerdan, Camelia, and Jenifer Whitten-Woodring. “Killings in Context: An Analysis of the News Framing of Femicide.” Human Rights Review (Piscataway, N.J.) 19.2 (2018): 211-28. Web.
    • This article focuses on the importance of recognizing violence against women as a distinct crime and how this is vital to its prevention. The article also discusses the role of the media and how they infrequently connect crimes to violation of the rights of women. 


Suggested Podcasts

  • Femicide Podcast 
  • The Red Note
    • The Red Note / La Nota Roja – Home | Facebook
    • Can be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify applications. 
    • This podcast discusses femicide crimes in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico through the voices of the investigators of the crimes and families of the victims. Investigative journalist, Lydia Cacho, hosts this podcast. 
    • Here’s also an article titled “Latin American Podcasts on Femicide Show Systemic Violence and Institutional Failures” that you can review to learn more the goals of this podcast, as well as the suggested one below:
  • Praia dos Ossos
    • Praia dos Ossos | Rádio Novelo
    • Can also be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify applications. 
    • Covers the case of Ângela Diniz who was murdered in Rio de Janeiro in 1976 by her boyfriend. Through the media, public opinion painted the murderer as a hero. This podcast was created by Branca Vianna, founder of Rádio Novelo, and focuses on the “impacts of crime on the feminist movement, the role of sexist press coverage and the main flaws in the judicial system” (Marina Estarque, Silvia Higuera). 
  • Human Monsters, Episode 150: True Crimes News 33 – The Horrors of Femicide


Artwork & Related Articles


Organizations to Get Involved With

  • Marabunta Peace Humanitarian Brigade/Brigada Humanitaria de Paz Marabunta

  • Activists!
    • Alejandra Pablos is an abortion abolitionist advocate who focuses on decriminalization of abortion, abortion rights, breaking down stigma to focus on safety of women and birth giving people.
    • This article covers 5 women activists who are working to end femicide in different regions around the world. Learn more about them and the organizations they work with through this article. 


Self-Assessment Exercises

  • Write a letter to a current human rights activist working in femicide/feminicide to learn more about their work. The function of this letter is to analyze a human rights project and learn key takeaways from the activist who conducted the project.  
    • Conduct your own online research to find an activist to write to or you can write to either Alejandra Elguero Altner or Ana Lorena Delgadillo who provided insight in the book through their conversations. There are also five activists listed above in the Activists section who would be great options for this exercise. 
    • Review a current or past project of your selected activist and write them a letter discussing your thoughts and follow-up questions you have for them. For example, were your goals achieved with this project? Do you plan to scale this project up for use in other countries/areas?
    • Self-care is important in human rights work, so feel free to ask these activists what types of self-care work for them. You’ll be amazed what you can learn from this one question. 
  • Create a piece of art inspired by a victim of femicide/feminicide. 
  • Write an op-ed (opinion piece that appears on a page in the newspaper dedicated solely to them, often written by a subject-matter expert, a person with a unique perspective on an issue, or a regular columnist employed by the paper) on femicide/feminicide.
  • Create a social media campaign
  • Write an ethnography/research paper.
    • follow a women’s rights activist/movement and do a case study surrounding them and the topic of feminicide. 


Chapter 27: Feminicides / Femicides

William Paul Simmons

Professor, Gender and Women's Studies; Director, Human Rights Practice Program (University of Arizona)

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