City Research Online

What is femicide? The United Nations and the measurement of progress in complex epistemic systems

Walby, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-9696-6947 (2023). What is femicide? The United Nations and the measurement of progress in complex epistemic systems. Current Sociology, 71(1), pp. 10-27. doi: 10.1177/00113921221084357


Femicide is a key global indicator of progress towards gender equality. The occurrence of some but not all five gender dimensions in the indicators of violence used to measure progress towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5, 11 and 16 are analysed as resulting from the tension between divergent feminist strategies that focus either on women-only or on mainstreaming intersecting inequalities. The tension between universalist and particularist projects underlies the contestations over the construction of these gendered indicators. The analysis develops a conceptualisation of indicators as assets in order to capture the social relations of power involved (rather than as boundary objects), supported by platforms (which can be public as well as corporate) and generated by dynamic epistemic systems (rather than stable epistemological infrastructures).

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Lficense ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher Keywords: Epistemic, femicide, gender, United Nations, violence
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Violence and Society Centre
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of 00113921221084357.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (128kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login