Feminicide, Gender Violence Against Women

5270 Words22 Pages

Ciudad Juárez
March 13, 2015

Femicide and Structural Violence against Women in

By: Craig Serpa


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Much research has been produced attempting to describe and subvert femicide in Ciudad Juárez, but perhaps the most accurate description of the gendered violence can be found in an American political cartoon. A maquiladora, or Mexican border assembly/ processing plant, stands alone among rolling hills littered with gravestones in the shape of the symbol of Venus. The graves extend to the horizon line in all directions, seemingly endless. From the viewer’s position in the lower right corner of the cartoon they can discern details on the nearest grave: the top arch of the
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The combination of neoliberal economic reform with existing gender hierarchies exacerbated existing structural violence and led to the continued disregard for the value of women’s lives in the form of direct gender-based violence. During the period examined in this research women were targeted, mutilated, and unaccounted for in death. Our analysis illustrates our argument that structural forces like the economic shifts produced the social conditions in which women’s bodies were, and still are not, not valued. Because their lives were not valued, the women employed by maquiladoras, las disposables, fell victim to exploitation, abuse, and violence at the hands of international corporations, their managers, and others. This paper brings together the fields of economics, gender studies, and anthropology to demonstrate two main ideas: first, that the myriad of ways structural and direct violence are entangled in every aspect of daily life, and second, that in


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the particular situation of Ciudad Juárez, structural violence that resulted from NAFTA’s economic restructuring manifested itself direct violence committed on the female body.

NAFTA and the Maquiladoras In 1964 the Bracero Program came to an end. Laws providing seasonal work authorization for Mexican laborers in the U.S. agricultural industry were allowed to expire. Less than a year after the decision was made to shut down the Bracero Program, the Mexican Government faced

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