The architecture of feminicide: The state, inequalities, and everyday gender violence in Honduras

Cecilia Menjívar, Shannon Drysdale Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Increasing exclusion and inequality in Honduras have posed escalating security risks for women in their homes and on the streets. In this article, we examine gender-based violence against women, including gender-motivated murders (feminicides), the everyday acts that can result in their deaths, and impunity for these crimes. Rather than analyzing these murders as interpersonal acts or linking them to economic deprivation, we examine the actions and inactions of the state that have amplified violence in the lives of Honduran women. We distinguish between the state’s acts of omission and acts of commission in order to identify the political responsibility and failures that create a fertile ground for these killings. A context of multisided violence that facilitates extreme violence in the lives of women is present in Honduras, especially considering the diminishing power of civil society groups and increased political repression after the 2009 coup. We identify root causes of the wide (and widening) gap between laws on the books—which have been passed mostly to satisfy international and domestic organizations pushing for change—and laws in action, that is, implementation on the ground. Although we focus on Honduras, we note similar experiences of extreme violence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and in other countries in the Latin American region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-240
Number of pages20
JournalLatin American Research Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Shannon DrySDale WalSh is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She was a visiting scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Political Science during the summer and fall of 2015. She was awarded a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship for 2014–2016, an endowed professorship for promising junior faculty in the University of Minnesota system. Her research explains variation in state response to violence against women focusing on Central American countries. In addition, she produces scholarship on women’s policy making, sex trafficking in the United States, and crime in Latin America. She has engaged in advocacy work in rural Guatemala and served as a consultant and expert witness for asylum cases in the United States. She has recently published her work in journals such as the International Feminist Journal of Politics; Politics, Groups, and Identities; Human Rights Review; Current Sociology; and Latin American Politics and Society. Her research has been awarded competitive external funding from several sources, including the American Association of University Women, National Endowment for the Humanities, and American Council of Learned Societies. She was awarded the 2015 Helen Safa Paper Prize by the Latin American Studies Association Gender and Feminist Studies Section.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'The architecture of feminicide: The state, inequalities, and everyday gender violence in Honduras'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this