- Slides: 16
Where Have all the Women Gone? Why Gender Matters When It Comes to Defining Genocide. Samantha Stockman Dr. Mahay Globalization and Human Rights Fall 2014
The History of the language of genocide • With help from Ralph Lemkin, the term “genocide” was created and brought to international attention in 1944 (endgenocide. org) • On December 9, 1948 the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the U. N. General Assembly (preventgenocide. org) • With this convention, the term genocide not only was recognized as being about a specific attack on a group of people but it also recognized genocide happening in times of peace and war as well as being justified for punishment.
Genocide Defined • Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines the term genocide as: • “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the groups; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” (preventgenocide. org)
Problems with the definition of Genocide • Though the definition of genocide included what acts are considered genocide and who all is affected by genocide, the definition leaves out another set of people that can possibly be affected by genocide: gender groups. • By leaving out gender in this definition of genocide, it makes crimes that can be classified as genocide seem okay to commit. Without the specific language including gender, it makes it seem like no crime/violation of human rights is being committed at all.
What is gendercide? • Since there was a lack of language recognizing gender as another group that is threatened by genocide, the term “gendercide” was created to show the killing of a group of people based on gender relates to the definition of genocide. • The word first appeared in Mary Anne Warren’s book Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection in 1985 in order connect killings based solely on gender with genocide (Jones, 2000).
Definition of Gendercide • Warren defines gendercide as: • “gendercide would be the deliberate extermination of persons of a particular sex (or gender)… “gendercide” is a sex-neutral term, since victims may be either male or 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” (Jones, 2000). • Though the word “gendercide” refers to both males and females falling victim to acts that are connected to genocide, females are the gender group that are dramatically being affected by the acts of genocide. The focus of this presentation will be primarily about female gendercide.
Missing women • It is estimated that about 200 million females are missing in the world. This number reflects women who have been born but who were killed by selective abortion or who were killed as infants (Grech; Mamo, 2014). These women are targeted solely based on the fact that they were born female, which may be seen as a hindrance in some cultures. • The highest percentages of the missing women are found within the Asian continent (Grech; Mamo, 2014). • The two Asian countries that have been highly affected by female gendercide are India and China.
India • Females targeted before and at birth as there is a male preference when it comes to children as males equal strength, blessing, and wealth (De. Lugan, 2013). • Females also targeted due to cultural tradition of the dowry system, in which the parents of females must pay a certain amount of money to future husbands to their daughters (It’s a Girl, 2012). If a poor family has a girl, they will kill her right after birth in order to save themselves from becoming even more in debt in the future.
India continued • Females have a 40% higher infant mortality rate; this reflects girls ages 1 -5 yrs (It’s a Girl, 2012). • Girls are also abandoned and neglected due to parents not wanting to take on the burden their culture sees of having girl. • Females not only targets at birth but are also threatened with death if they do not give birth to boys. Estimated 100, 000 women killed because they do not birth boys or due to a lower dowry than husband’s family wants (It’s a Girl, 2012).
China • Like in India, China has a male preference at birth. This is due to males being seen as able to contribute more to the family as they can contribute to the family with their strength as they grow older (It’s a Girl, 2012). Women are not seen as being valuable to a family as they are not as capable of helping supporting a family as a man can. • Gendercide in China was/is encouraged by the “One Child Policy” created in 1979 to help reduce the population growth within the country (It’s a Girl, 2012). • Many women are forced to have abortions by the government if the government finds out a woman is expecting a second child who is a girl. There an estimated 13. 1 million abortions occurring per year in China (It’s a Girl, 2012).
China Continued • Due to the gendercide, there are 37 million more males in China (It’s a Girl, 2012). • Gendercide also caused more problems in China and puts surviving females at risk as there are not enough females to males ratio leaving males without options for wives. Because of this huge gender gap, child trafficking is at a high with an estimated 70, 000 young girls who survive gendercide are stolen and kept with a family who has a boy in order to insure their son has a wife when he is older (It’s a Girl, 2012).
How is gendercide a violation of human rights? • Article three of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: • “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person” (Jan; Wahab, 2012). • Just as genocide is in violation of this human right, so is gendercide as it prevents females from their right to life, freedom, and security of their own person. This further connects genocide and gendercide as both acts take away this basic right. • Furthermore, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also states that everyone is entitled to rights, such as rights mentioned in article three, no matter on what sex a person is (Jan; Wahab, 2012).
How gendercide connects with Genocide. • David Buchanan backs up this argument that gendercide is connected to genocide as they are the same issue. He says, “Clearly there are times when groups of people suffer collective human rights violations because of they are members of a particular group. Genocide is the bestknown example of this phenomenon” (Buchanan, 2002). Here, he claims that genocide is the best-known example of times when a collective group of people are attacked just because they are apart of a certain group. Since victims of gendercide are attacked just because they are apart of a particular (whether it be males or females), it further shows that it is important to include gender when defining genocide. Gender matters as much as race, religion, and ethic group does when it comes to crimes of genocide.
How can this problem be solved? • Though it is easy to just say make gender apart of the convention of genocide in order for gender killings to be punishable, it is not that simple. As Gul Qadeem Jan and Abdul Wahab analysis the practice of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights they say, “This is only a list of rights; none of these rights mentioned in this declaration is backed by such an enforcement power that could ascertain the implementation of these rights” (Jan; Wahab, 2012). This is the same for the Convention on Genocide. Just because it is bound by law, does not mean action will be seen. However, there is hope to change being made.
How can the problem be solved? Cont. • First, the language of the definition of genocide should be altered to include gender as specific gender groups are proven to be targets of killings solely based on gender alone. With the recognition of gender as a group of those who can be affected by genocide, justice can be served as gendercide will legally be bounded as being punishable if practiced. Even if it does take time to see action being made, it is important that the language be there so that when action is made it can be justified by law. • Acknowledging that gender is a factor of the acts associated with genocide is key to ensure action be made. By bringing the issue of gendercide, in connection with genocide, to international attention it can cause more countries to be accountable for the crimes happening within their borders. Once it is acknowledged legally, people can start to rally to question governments as to why no action is being made to stop gendercide within other countries. With enough attention towards this issue, countries affected by gendercide may be quicker to action.
Works Cited • Buchanan, David. "Gendercide And Human Rights. " Journal Of Genocide Research 4. 1 (2002): 95 -108. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. • De. Lugan, Robin Maria. "Exposing Gendercide In India And China. " Current Anthropology 54. 5 (2013): 649 -650. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. • http: //endgenocide. org/learn/what-is-genocide/ • Grech, Victor, and Julian Mamo. "Gendercide - A Review Of The Missing Women. " Malta Medical Journal 26. 1 (2014): 8 -11. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. • It's a Girl! Dir. Evan Grae Davis. Shadowline Films, 2012. Netflix. • Jan, Gul Qadeem, and Abdul Wahab. "Constitutional Evaluation Of United Nations, Universal Decleration Of Human Rights. " Gomal University Journal Of Research 28. 1 (2012): 8896. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. • Jones, Adam. "Gendercide And Genocide. " Journal Of Genocide Research 2. 2 (2000): 185211. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. • http: //www. preventgenocide. org/law/convention/text. htm