(WOMENSENEWS)–A new study suggests that American women are five times more likely to be murdered than women in other industrialized countries.

The study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that 7 out of 10 women who were murdered in the world’s wealthiest countries were slain in the United States, Reuters reported. The study, touted as the first examination of international homicide rates among women, was released last week.

Of the nearly 6,300 women killed in the 25 richest countries each year, about 4,400 are American, researchers found. Finland had the second-highest rate, followed by Switzerland, Belgium and New Zealand.

Israel had the lowest female homicide rate, according to the study.

David Hemenway, the study’s lead author, said that nearly half of all murdered American women are killed with a gun. He said they are more likely to be killed by someone they know, such as husbands, companions or rejected lovers.

“Guns are often bought for protection, but the U.S. has the most guns, and, clearly, we are not doing a good job protecting American women,” Hemenway said. “The experience of all other developed countries shows that we can do better.”

The study did not examine why American women were more likely to be murdered than their foreign counterparts, but Hemenway said the country’s homicide rate is closely tied to levels of gun ownership.

For more information:

Harvard School of Public Health
“American Females at Highest Risk for Murder”: