Honduras is known for having one of the highest homicide rates in the world outside areas of armed conflict. Orlando SIERRA/AFP

According to a new research report, despite the overall number of homicides falling in 2022, more women and girls were killed.

In 2022 it was found that almost 89,000 women and girls were killed across the globe, with a family member or intimate partner being the most common attacker for 55 per cent of the victims – 48,800.

The study, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN Women, noted that the figure marks the highest number of femicides in the past two decades.

A femicide, widely known as female homicide, has been defined by UN Women as "an intentional killing with a gender-related motivation".

"Femicide may be driven by stereotyped gender roles, discrimination towards women and girls, unequal power relations between women and men, or harmful social norms," UN Women noted.

The increase in femicides also marks the first time that the number of female deaths in Africa has surpassed the number of female homicides in Asia, measuring 20,000.

In Africa last year, for every 100,000 women, almost three were victims of homicide – the highest number of victims relative to the size of the continent's female population.

The femicide figures in Africa have been dubbed as "estimates" in the UNODC and UN Women report, considering the researchers were only able to access a limited amount of data.

Between the years 2017 and 2022, in North America, the number of femicides committed by relatives or intimate partners increased by almost a third – measuring 29 per cent.

The dramatic increase of women and girls being killed in North America is a combination of increased violence against females and improved recording practices, the report declares.

Over the same period of time, from 2017 to 2022, femicides increased in the Caribbean by eight per cent – although the report does not make it clear which island was home to the most number of killings.

Ghada Waly, the Executive Director of UNODC, said: "The alarming number of femicides is a stark reminder that humanity is still grappling with deep-rooted inequalities and violence against women and girls."

Waly urged all international governments to "invest in institutions that are more inclusive and well-equipped to end impunity, strengthen prevention, and help victims, from frontline responders to the judiciary, to end the violence before it is too late".

The increased number of women and girls who have been killed also demonstrates that, on average, more than 133 females "were killed every day by someone in their own home", according to the UN Women report.

The homicides against males, carried out by family members or intimate partners, stood at just 12 per cent last year.

"Each life lost is a call to action — a plea to urgently address structural inequalities, to improve criminal justice responses, so that no woman or girl fears for her life because of her gender," the Executive Director of UNODC added.

Between 2017 and 2022, UN Women and UNODC revealed that, although the number of femicides has reached an all-time high, the number of women and girls being killed by the same kind of perpetrators in Central America, dropped by 10 per cent respectively.

During the same period, female killings also reduced by around eight per cent across South America.

The research report found that Europe had witnessed an average decrease of more than 20 per cent (21%) in the number of femicides conducted by relationship partners and family members since 2010.

In a bid to end gender-based violence, UN Women kick-started its annual '16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence' last week.

This year's campaign calls on international governments to share how they are investing their efforts into gender-based violence prevention.