19th World Day Against the Death Penalty – Women and the death penalty, an invisible reality

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On 10 October 2021, the World Day will be dedicated to women who risk being sentenced to death, who have received a death sentence, who have been executed, and to those who have had their death sentences commuted, exonerated, or pardoned.


Extensive discrimination based on sex and gender, often coupled with other elements of identity, such as age, sexual orientation, disability, and race expose women to intersecting forms of structural inequalities. Such prejudices can weigh heavily on sentencing, including when women are stereotyped as an evil mother, a witch, or a femme fatale. This discrimination can also lead to critical mitigating factors not being considered during arrest and trial, such as being subjected to gender-based violence and abuse.


While working towards the complete abolition of the death penalty worldwide for all crimes and for all genders, it is crucial to sound the alarm on the discrimination women face and the consequences such discrimination can have on a death sentence.



(Statistics from Amnesty International unless otherwise specified)

  •  Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide estimates that there are at least 800 women sentenced to death around the world.
  • At least 7 countries are confirmed to have a woman under the sentence of death in 2020: Ghana, Japan, Maldives, Taiwan, Thailand, USA, Zambia. The number of countries is, in reality much higher, like in Saudi Arabia and Iran, but where there is no accurate breakdown of death-row statistics by gender.
  • In 2020, amongst the 483 individuals who were executed, 16 were women located in Egypt, Iran, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
  • 108 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
  • 28 countries are abolitionist in practice
  • 55 countries are retentionist.
  • In 2020, the 5 countries that carried out the most executions were: China, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

Scroll down and find more information about women and the death penalty in our leafletand facts & figures sheet.



Wherever you are… in Africa, America, Asia, Oceania or Europe,

Whoever you are… NGOs, teachers, lawyers, local representatives, parliamentarians, artists, reporters, religious leaders, citizens,

Whatever your plans are… debates, concerts, press conferences, demonstrations, petitions, educational and cultural activities….

Take action against the death penalty, on 10 October 2021!

Join the hundreds of initiatives organized worldwide. In 2020, despite the urgent challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic there were over 500 events planned in over 70 countries around the world! You can read more about the 2020 World Day here.


Developing World Day plans? Get in touch with the World Coalition to tell us about events scheduled on 10 October 2021.

World Day Posters are available in TagalogLuganda,Lingala, English, ArabicGermanChineseSpanishFarsiFrenchItalianJapaneseSwahiliRussian.



(and for more ideas, check out our Mobilization Kit, also available in French and Arabic):

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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