Today we remember just five of the thousands of girls and women who died this year as a result of gender-based violence and denial of women’s rights.

Each woman led a different life in a different country, but the thing that unites them is that their inferior status as women resulted in their untimely deaths.


We don’t know her real name. Protesters in India have dubbed her “Damini,” which means “lightning” in Hindi. The 23-year-old medical student died in December after being gang raped by six men on a bus in New Delhi.


The story behind Najiba’s death differs according to who tells the story. One version is that she was abducted and raped by a man in her community. Another is that she willingly cheated on her husband. This July, the young Afghan woman was executed in public by her husband in order to seek justice for her alleged adultery. Her murder was captured on video.


Savita was 17 weeks pregnant when she began to miscarry. Severely sick in an Irish hospital, she asked to terminate her pregnancy to avoid further complications. The 31-year-old dentist was denied an abortion, as it is against the law in Ireland. When her baby’s heartbeat stopped, medical staff removed the fetus. By that time, doctors were unable to prevent Savita’s death of a blood infection on October 28.


The bullying started after a man convinced her to expose herself online and threatened to blackmail her. Slowly, Canadian teen Amanda sank into depression after being taunted and attacked at school. She shared her cry for help on a YouTube video before committing suicide this October.


Fifteen-year-old Nishina was collecting water from a well near her home in Afghanistan when her throat was slit. She was killed by her cousin after her family turned down his marriage proposal in November.

I wish this post didn’t exist. I wish there weren’t enough girls and women killed to make this post worthwhile.

At the same time, I wish I could write down the name of every woman who died because of her gender this year, because every single one needs to be recognized.

I wish that these girls and women had the chance to live out the rest of their lives.

(Photo credit: eviltomthai)

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  1. January 9, 2013  5:32 pm by Sandra Leigh Reply

    Damini's real name was Jyoti Singh Pandey.

  2. January 10, 2013  2:12 pm by Madeleine Whitfield Reply

    It took us a while in North America to change attitudes to women so that all would be treated equally in every sphere. Now we have to do it everywhere and not stop until the task has been accomplished. Equality now. Must happen!

  3. January 16, 2013  9:40 pm by Concerned Citizen Reply

    Hate to burst your "poor poor pitiful me" bubble, but boys and men are killed by gender discrimination one thousand times more often than girls and women. Of course nobody is talking about gender discrimination against these boys. So I ask you, which is a bigger problem? Don't look now, but your sexism is showing.

    • January 17, 2013  1:58 am by Asad Kiyani Reply

      Wow, thanks for your comment! It contains some really interesting information, something I’ve never heard before: that 1,000 times as many men and boys die of gender discrimination as girls and women. Could you please provide a source for that statement, because it sounds pretty incredible and something the media and our governments should really be discussing and acting on. As a man, and as someone concerned about all types of violence, I would really like to hear more about this.

      What I’m not really interesting in hearing more about is why discussing the particular problematic of gendered violence against women is somehow sexist. The fact that we are able to talk about specific forms of violence as separate from other forms of violence does not make us sexist (or racist or what have you). Talking about one does not necessarily diminish the other, unless of course you say something like “We should only focus on solving violence against women/anti-Semitism/prostate cancer.” Which is silly, and not at all what the author has said here.

      In fact, one of the benefits of talking about these problems as distinct from one another is that we are able to focus on specific solutions. Lumping all violence together - violence against women, men, racial minorities, migrant workers, bank executives, Hollywood paparazzi, etc - is a hopeless task because it offers no possibility of finding a solution to those very distinct problems. They all have different causes that affect different groups in different ways, and there is no single solution to all of them. Discussing the similarities and differences between them allows for creative problem solving, and the building of alliances between otherwise separate groups (say, around gun control laws in the United States).

      So let me be an ally to you: You’re really concerned about gendered violence against men/boys? Great! More people should be! But remember, working on one form of violence doesn’t make you a sexist (well…except by your own faulty logic), just a concerned citizen who is applying his or her knowledge, skills and interests to an important task.

      Good luck with your very important work rectifying gendered violence against men. I look forward to hearing where you got your shocking statistics.

  4. January 17, 2013  1:57 am by Asad Kiyani Reply

    To the young girls reading this excellent blog:

    I just read the comment from January 16. Please know that you don’t have to apologize for being interested in or concerned about the many different ways in which women suffer violence and discrimination simply because they are women or girls. That does not make you a sexist. It makes you a smart and thoughtful person concerned about her health and safety, and the safety of others. It makes you an empathetic person, and a better ally of everyone who suffers from violence and discrimination.

  5. October 4, 2013  1:36 pm by Sheldon Reply

    Plan Canada itself has become a sexist organization that seems hell bent on showing how bad boys are, like the recent bogus, scientifcally unviable survey they released that I read in the Toronto Star supposedly claiming that a third of boys believe in so-called sexist stereotypes of females -- while there was no survey on just how often those boys stereotype themselves and other males (which probably fares off no better) or a survey showing how much girls stereoytpe males (which also would no doubt fare off any better, in fact the ways girls stereotype boys could be worse I predict becasue girls are given much more leeway and freedom in their roles now than boys are). A survey like this is only more evidence of just how sexist this organization has become, because not only do you ignore or mimimize the problems of boys in poor countries, but you also seem to now have a wider agenda of villifying boys and making them look bad here at home as well as in impoverished countries.

    Keep this ridiculously ironic sexism up Plan Canada and your going to lose support, and I for one won't invest a nickel in your organization, as I've always been planning to when I get a little more disposable income, until I see you drop this sexist favouritism and give equal time to both girls and boys. Until then, I'll go to another like organization that doesn't practice sexist favouritism, and when I do, I'll be sure to help out a boy -- because it seems like, with the contemptible blind eye that's being turned toward their own problems by organizations like yours, they need help more than ever.

    • October 4, 2013  8:12 pm by Kate Jongbloed Reply

      Hi Sheldon,

      Plan’s mission is to improve the lives of children in developing countries and we work with both girls and boys to achieve this mission. Gender inequality and negative stereotypes are harmful to everyone: girls and women, and boys and men too. That’s why we address gender discrimination in all our program work to ensure that girls AND boys get access to education, health care, and the skills and opportunities needed to become independent adults who can break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their children.

      blogger Kate

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