Engendering State Institutions: State Response to Violence Against Women in Latin America


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Political Science


This dissertation explains the development and variation in practices within three types of specialized institutions (policy agencies, police units, and the courts) that address violence against women in Latin America. A structured, focused comparison of Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica is conducted to generate a broader explanation of strengthening institutions and state capacity in Latin America to address the needs of marginalized populations. It proposes that states are more likely to construct institutions and transform their practices: 1) when states are made vulnerable to civil society demands by human rights-based political and legal frameworks and 2) when a national women’s movement works in coordination with international women’s organizations and key state actors.