The Geography of Feminicide and Gender-Related Violence: Supporting Civil Society Data Action

Catherine D’Ignazio, Silvana Fumega, Helena Suárez Val, Amelia Dogan, Isadora Cruxên, Angeles Martinez Cuba

Violence against women and its lethal outcome, feminicide, are a serious problem in the Americas, as they are in the rest of the world, but the lack of high-quality, reliable data is a known barrier towards their prevention and eradication. For the past three years, Assisant Professor Catherine D'Ignazio has been working with Silvana Fumega (Latin American Initiative for Open Data - ILDA) and Helena Suárez Val (Feminicidio Uruguay) on a multi-year, large-scale participatory action research project called Data Against Feminicide.

The goals of our overall project are: (1) to understand how activists and civil society organizations based across the Americas collect and use data about feminicide, (2) to create a network of data practitioners including activists, civil society and government actors to help coordinate their data practices for more impact and (3) Together with members of this network, to co-design machine learning technology that partially automates feminicide case detection and collection.

For the LCAU seed grant, we wish to investigate and produce a research paper about the spatial dimensions of missing data about feminicide and gender-related violence. One pattern we have noticed from our interviews with civil society organizations is the spatial unevenness of available data. Feminicides that occur in urban centers are more frequently reported in both official databases and in the media (from which most civil society groups get their information) whereas those in urban peripheries and informally settled areas of the city are less likely to be reported. This pattern also happens at the regional and national scale. A seed grant from the LCAU would allow us to conduct further interviews with civil society organizations about these patterns, as well as analyze our existing qualitative data (20+ interviews) for spatial dimensions of missing data. It would also allow us to host a virtual workshop to brainstorm ways of mitigating these informatic challenges with organizations who map and monitor feminicide. This would lay the groundwork for integrating this knowledge into our tools (currently in prototype stage) to help organizations detect feminicide and other forms of human rights violations.

This research is funded by 2022 Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism Seed Grant.