Nav: Home

A study shows growth trends in female homicide victims in Spain spanning over a century

February 06, 2020

In a groundbreaking study, research carried out between the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and the University of Lausanne (UNIL, Switzerland) has compiled data on homicide victims in Spain, disaggregated by gender, from 1910 to 2014. Unlike previous studies, which have focused on particular regions of the country or shorter time periods, this study gathers and analyses data corresponding to more than a century in Spain. Although it takes a look at both male and female victimization, the analysis has centred particularly on female victims. Among its most salient results, the analysis shows an increase in female homicide victims starting in the 1960s and associates it with the evolution of women's role and status in society.

The study "Female Homicide Victimization in Spain from 1910 to 2014: the Price of Equality?", published in the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, is the work of Antonia Linde, director of the UOC Bachelor's Degree in Criminology. Linde studied the documentation in depth and analysed the trends in female homicide victimization, irrespective of the gender of the perpetrator. In other words, the data used include women who have been victims of homicides committed by both men and women. "This is because there are no public data available on female homicide victims in which the perpetrator's sex is specified until the late 1990s", said the researcher.

Female homicide mortality does not follow a steady line over the century; the study identifies an upward trend starting in the 1960s. It was in this decade that women's daily routines started a process of rapid change. Women began to spend more time out of the home, either studying or working, and remained single and childless until later ages. And it is also from this decade that the likelihood of becoming homicide victims increases. "These new activities would have increased their exposure to the risk of victimization (they spend more time out of the home, they interact with more people, etc)", Linde pointed out.

Evolution of women's role and status in Spain

The study reveals associations between the evolution of female homicide victims and six indicators of women's role and social status in Spain: enrolment in higher education, entry in the job market, average age when the first child is born, marriage, divorce and abortion.

The data reveal that, starting in the 1960s, the number of women enrolled in higher education institutions increased very significantly. In 1915-1916, women accounted for 2% of the total student population; by the early 1960s, this percentage had increased to 25% and, from the 1980s onwards, there were more female students than male students. In addition, the number of marriages fell 50% during the period analysed (from 7 marriages per 1,000 inhabitants in 1910 to 3.4 in 2014).

The other indicators, although available for shorter time periods, also confirmed women's transition from traditional to non-traditional roles. There were more divorces (between 1982 and 2014, the number of divorces per 100 marriages increased six-fold) and abortions (in 1990, there were 4 abortions per 1,000 women - in the 15-44 age group - and 10.5 in 2014), women's presence in the job market grew (in 1976, there were 2.7 men working for every woman but only 1.2 men for every woman in 2014) and women were older when they had their first child (the average age was 25 in 1975 and 31 in 2014).

The behaviour of mortality is different in men and women

During the century analysed, the overall trend in the number of homicide victims followed the trend in the number of male homicide victims. However, when the number of murdered women was compared with the overall trend, the two did not track each other so closely. "Male and female victimization followed different trends during several periods. This gives a variable gender gap in homicide victimization in Spain over time", Linde remarked.

The ratio between male and female homicide victims narrowed between the early 20th century and the early 21st century. In the 1910s, 7-9 men were killed for every woman, in the late 1960s, it fell to 2.7 men for every women and, in the early 2010s, it was less than 2 men per woman.

Another noteworthy result is that, while male victimization decreased after the mid-1980s, female victimization increased. "This is interesting because during this period most countries in our region show a decrease in homicide victimization in general after the 1960s, including female victimization", the expert underscored.

Before the 1960s

The study shows that there is an increase in the number of women who were killed during the 1910s, a drop during the 1920s and a spike during the 1930s, up until the Spanish Civil War. After the war, homicides fell steadily until they reached their lowest ever values in the early 1960s. "The analysis shows a consistent upward trend from the early 20th century, with dips during the two dictatorships that ruled the country between 1923 and 1930 and between 1939 and 1975. The lower death rates during these years are probably due to the restrictions on personal freedom", the researcher suggested.

To conclude, the article raises a considerable number of questions because many more analyses can be performed on the data compiled. "I have published these data now for reasons of research ethics, so that other colleagues can use them in future studies", Linde said.
Reference paper

Linde, A. Female Homicide Victimization in Spain from 1910 to 2014: the Price of Equality?. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research (2019).


The UOC's research and innovation contributes to solving the challenges facing the global societies of the 21st century by studying ICTs' interactions with human activity, with a specific focus on e-learning and e-health. Over 400 researchers and 46 research groups work among the University's seven faculties and three research centres: the IN3, the eLearn Center and the eHealth Center. The United Nations 2030 Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals and open knowledge provide strategic pillars on which the UOC's teaching, research and innovation are built. More information:

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)

Related Higher Education Articles:

How can education researchers support education and public health and institutions during COVID-19?
As education researchers' ongoing work is interrupted by school closures, what can they do to support education and public health institutions dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?
Boys' poor reading skills might help explain higher education gender gap
Researchers at the University of Missouri and the University of Essex in the United Kingdom found boys' poor reading skills in adolescence, combined with the social attitudes about women attending college, can help explain why fewer men than women enroll in higher education or other types of post-high school education.
Online education platforms could scale high-quality STEM education for universities
Online and blended (online and in-person) STEM instruction can produce the same learning outcomes for students as traditional, in-person classes at a fraction of the cost, finds research published today in Science Advances.
Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.
Schools less important than parents in determining higher education aspirations
A new study shows that the elementary school a child attends has almost no influence on their desire to progress to higher education -- as factors including parental aspirations, academic support from their mother and having a desk to work on are much more important.
Higher education holds key to more age-friendly society, publication says
The age-friendly movement is an ideal means of embracing demographic shifts in higher education and society at large, according to the latest issue in the What's Hot newsletter series from The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), titled 'Higher Education and Aging: The Age-Friendly Movement -- Building a Case for Age Inclusivity.' Support for the publication was provided by AARP.
In blacks with Alzheimer's gene, higher education may be protective
A new study from Columbia University found that a higher level of education protected against cognitive decline in black people with a gene linked to Alzheimer's disease.
WVU study reveals falsification issues in higher education hiring processes
When concerns are expressed about distrust in science, they often focus on whether the public trusts research findings.
Job sharing can boost number of women in senior higher education roles
Research from Lancaster University Management School, shows job sharing offers a route to increase the number of women in senior leadership roles in higher education.
Few US higher education campuses have gone completely smoke and/or tobacco-free
Just one in six accredited US colleges and universities have gone completely smoke and/or tobacco free, reveals the first study of its kind, published in the journal Tobacco Control.
More Higher Education News and Higher Education Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.