Re-imagining the measurement of femicide: From ‘thin’ counts to ‘thick’ counts

Sandra Walklate, Kate Fitz-Gibbon

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The term femicide, while contested, focuses attention on women killed by men’s violence. This focus has generated work on its nature and extent much of which examines the lethal act and the lethal actor in which the death is counted. These counts are themselves incomplete. Despite their shortcomings, these ‘thin’ counts have contributed to the increasing impetus for a wide range of global and local prevention and response initiatives designed to draw attention to femicide. ‘Thin’ counts, measuring as they do, who does what to whom, while justified and justifiable, are a surface manifestation of the deeper embrace of social ecological theory within this field of work. This theory, originating in the work of Brofenbrenner, has functionalist tendencies which fail to assign explanatory power or salience to any one variable. This approach provides a narrow vision of what counts as femicide: a ‘thin’ count. However, if femicide was viewed through a wide-angled lens and incorporated all those lives curtailed and shortened as a result of living with men’s violence(s), that which Walklate et al. have called ‘slow femicide’, femicide counts might look somewhat different. Here, we explore why these might be called ‘thick’ counts. These counts would focus attention on not only who does what to whom but also on with what implement, in what place and at what point in time. Thus, ‘thick’ counts would broaden our understanding of the nature, extent and impact of femicide.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Sociology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Ecological theory
  • Femicide
  • patriarchy
  • violence against women
  • ‘thick’ counts
  • ‘thin’ counts

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