What is Gendercide?

Article Details
  • Written By: Bethney Foster
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In a global education study, female students outperformed their male peers in 70% of the regions that were studied.  more...

August 14 ,  1945 :  Japan surrendered to the Allies, ending World War II.  more...

Gendercide refers to the killing of a mass group of people based on gender. The most common form against females, called femicide, is the killing of girl babies or the abortion of female fetuses in cultures where male children are preferred. The most common form against males, called androcide, occurs in the context of war. Gendercide against men is most commonly carried out as a means to weaken an oppressed people's capacity to fight or to weaken an enemy before battle.

The term gendercide was first used by Mary Anne Warren in her 1985 book Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection. In the book, she compares mass murder based on gender to genocide, which is defined as the deliberate and systematic killing of a cultural or racial group of people. Warren’s book focuses on gendercide against females, citing as examples the witch hunts and other mass murders of women throughout history.

Writer Carol Orlock likely introduced the term femicide in 1974. In addition to the continued killing of female babies and the abortion of female fetuses, modern forms of femicide may include legally sanctioned death penalties for wives accused of adultery, the deaths of women and girls caused by neglect and abuse, and the murders of women in so-called shame killing. Shame killings or honor killings are acceptable, and even legal, in some cultures and lead to the murder of women or girls because of perceived sexual improprieties because they were the victims of rape or other sexual assault or because they in some other way dishonored their families.

Like gendercide against women, the mass killing of men based on gender dates back to ancient times. Poseidon leads a massacre against males in mythology. There are accounts throughout the Bible. In modern times, gendercide against men continues to occur primarily within the context of war or to weaken a society financially because men continue to be primarily responsible for financial support of the family in many parts of the world.

The most widely recognized example of gendercide in modern times has led to the phenomenon of missing women in Asia, with the ratio of women to men being significantly different than what would be expected. Without gender-selective killing, a society generally has slightly more females than males. By comparison, there are about 10 percent fewer women than men in many parts of Asia. Some studies find there to be as many as 100 million "missing" women in Asia as of 2011.

Discuss this Article

Post 2

That final detail in the article about the unusual gender disparity in Asia is really strange. I knew that there were instances of infanticide but I had no idea that the issue was that widespread.

Post 1

I saw a very creepy movie recently called Polytechnique. It was made in Canada and it tells the true story of a shooting spree that happened at a community college in the late 80s.

The whole movie is shot very dramatically in black and white and the story is told non linearly which helps to build tension.

But the creepiest detail is one of the real ones. The guy that went on the shooting spree hated women and blamed them for many of the problems in his life. When he began shooting he killed only women. Its a terrible story already but somehow this fact makes it even worse.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?