Counting Dead Women: Women’s Names To Be Read Out in Parliament

For  the ninth consecutive year, Jess Phillips MP will read out the names of UK women killed by men or killed in circumstances where a man has been charged and/or named as principal suspect. The names have been collated by our sister project, Counting Dead Women, since 2012.

Phillips is required to request special permission to make an extended contribution which exceeds the length of time MPs are permitted to speak in the parliamentary International Woman’s Day debate, scheduled to take place this year on 29th February (2024).  This is necessary because of the length of time  it takes to read each woman’s name.

The Femicide Census has written to every MP for whom one of the women names would have been a constituent. We have requested that they show the deceased women and her loved ones the respect of being present to hear her name. We have also suggested actions that MPs can take in a local and national capacity to tackle femicide.

This is our letter:

Dear [.    ] MP

Your constituent [name]

This year a constituent of yours is named among 100 women killed in the UK where a man has been either charged or convicted since last year’s International Women’s Day (IWD). We believe the number of women killed in the UK must and can be reduced. You can make a huge difference.

The men charged or convicted of killing these women are their partners or former partners, their sons or wider family members, friends, acquaintances, colleagues or strangers. These women lived, worked or were schooled in your constituency and more than likely leave behind children, family, friends and colleagues who are your constituents struggling with their grief at another act of male violence. Showing you acknowledge the taking of the life of one of your constituents is an act of solidarity.

Femicide (the killing of women because they are women) is both a local and a national problem and in this election year we urge you to do all you can to tackle femicide and violent, abusive and coercive behaviour that may lead to femicide, at a constituency level and as a member of the national government. You can make a positive difference in a number of ways:

    1. Honour your constituent and attend the parliamentary IWD debate, where Jess Philips will read out her name among all the women killed compiled by Karen Ingala Smith’s Counting Dead Women project. The families of those killed will follow Jess’ speech on social media or on the news, some of them will be present in the public gallery. For them, this act of honouring those women has a profound importance. Every year Jess reads the names to a near empty chamber.
    2. Call it femicide: men’s fatal violence against women is not only domestic homicide, but also includes the killing of friends, colleagues, neighbours, strangers, as well as family members and partners. Policies that only tackle domestic homicide ignore nearly 30% of all killings of women.
    3. Femicide is an act that bridges all forms of men’s violence against women and girls and is symptomatic of entrenched sex inequality. Recognising the connections between and the cultural context of men’s violence against women is critical to achieving change.
    4. Call for ending femicide to be included in the Government’s Strategy to End Violence Against Women and Girls, your own party’s proposals to tackle MVAWG and in any election manifesto. Currently neither femicide or homicide – the worst form of men’s violence against women – is included in the current MVAWG strategy.
    5. Support your local refuge and sexual and domestic violence centres so that victim-survivors have dedicated specialist services and access to women’s only support. Many agencies are worried about cuts to services. Ensure these services are funded at parity with statutory services.
    6. Work with your PCC to ensure reports of domestic violence, harassment and stalking and mental health concerns linked to fear of violence are always treated as a priority. Many killings occur when the victim or perpetrator are known to local agencies. Tell your police force you want to be informed of any femicides that happen in your constituency, and ensure that your local authority reports to you the outcome of and progress towards recommendations of any Domestic Homicide Reviews.

Together we can end violence against women, girls and children.

Yours sincerely

The Femicide Census

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