New legislation to stop “gendercide” needed, says European Parliament Women’s Rights Committee

gendercidePromotion of an educational and social environment where women and men are equal, prevention of sex  selection as a business, and combating discrimination against  the girl child are just some of the proposals agreed by the Committee on Women’s Rights on Wednesday in a resolution on the so called “gendercide”, i.e. the killing of people belonging to a particular sex. The resolution also proposes scientific examination of the root causes of “gendercide” and new legislation to address the problem.

“I welcome the positive vote of the Women’s Rights Committee for this own-initiative report on “Gendercide: the missing women?” The European Parliament is addressing this particular sensitive subject for the first time. Gendercide refers to the systematic, deliberate and gender-based mass killing of people belonging to a particular sex .The report specifically explores the causes, current trends and consequences, stressing the need to address and uproot effectively all fundamental causes leading to gender-biased sex- selective practices, said lead MEP Papadopoulou Antigoni (S&D, Cyprus)

Patriarchal culture

Gendercide can be often found in the cultures where  son preference   culture prevails and where discrimination and stereotypes against daughter exist. Such sex selective practices disrupt gender balance in societies and discourage women to fully enjoy equal treatment, such as inadequate social security system, and opportunities, Members say.

Consequences

According to the approved text, consequences of gendercide can lead to distorted sex ratio and male dominant population. In a men dominant world, men will have a problem to find a wife which could lead to forced marriages and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Combating gendercide

Policy measures, such as monetary support for girls from poor families and awareness raising campaigns about the value of girls, could be a good example of measures to enhance the equal value of boys and girls, said the committee.

MEPs call on Member States to prohibit any sex selective practice, stressing that gendercide or femicide is a crime and a violation against human rights which need to be investigated. They ask for more educational programmes to empower women to be responsible for their own lives.

Members also urge the Commission to do scientific investigation of the root causes of sex selective practices, to find ways to combat gendercide by offering aid, assistance, policies and funding and to combat discrimination measures against born or unborn girl child. Members stress the importance of health care, education and work access for women without spousal authorization.

Definition of gendercide

Whereas ‘gendercide’ is a sex-neutral term referring to the systematic, deliberate and gender-based mass killing of people belonging to a particular sex, which is a rising but underreported problem in several countries, with lethal consequences; whereas this report is specifically exploring the causes, current trends, consequences and ways of combating the gender-biased sex selection  practices, taking also the forms of infanticide and  violence through sex selection ( other terms, such as  “femicide/feminicide”, for which a special EP report already exists; have been used to refer to the killing of women and girls as the utmost expression of discrimination and violence against women).

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