In 2009 Guatemalan women experienced the highest level of violence in Latin America and one of the highest in the world, and death rates have continued to increase in 2010. At the core of the issue are two major problems: pervasive poverty and legal exclusion. In turn, these two issues are closely connected since legal/judicial exclusion is a consequence of poverty. This paper aims to analyze the question of violence against women in Guatemala, to discuss women’s limited political, legal and economic rights, as well as the policies pursued since the end of Guatemala’s civil war to deal with the violence. The fact that crimes against women have not declined, but in fact are on the rise points to the ineffective nature of the existing polices, and the need to make a larger investment in antipoverty and other socioeconomic policies geared to increase women’s economic self-sufficiency.

Author Biography

Corinne Ogrodnik, MS Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University; doctoral candidate University of Pittsburgh, Sociology. Her current research focuses on women, poverty and development in the Latin American region. She is also the editor of Integrating Food Stamps Benefits into Pittsburgh Farmer’s Markets (Publication of the Office of Data Analysis, Research, and Evaluation; Allegheny County Department of Human Services; Forthcoming 2010).

Silvia Borzutzky is a Teaching Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Carnegie Mellon University. She has written extensively on Latin American politics, social policies and international relations. She is the author of Vital Connections: Politics, Social Security and Inequality in Chile (Notre Dame University Press, 2002) and co-editor of After Pinochet: The Chilean Road to Capitalism and Democracy (University Press of Florida, 2006), and The Bachelet Government: Conflict and Consensus in Post-Pinochet Chile (University of Florida Press, Forthcoming 2010). Her current research deals with the socioeconomic effects of globalization on social policies, poverty and women.