Intersectionality To Analyze Access To The Women’S Justice System

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Intersectionality to analyze access to the women’s justice system


Within sexuality, gender and public policies, in the second semester, within the course of feminist theory II, theme related to feminist criticism of science, neutrality and universalism were addressed;the methodology and feminist methodology;the located knowledge and women as cognitive subjects;feminist currents and authors;And, intersectionality.

The path on the path of feminist epistemology allows intersectation as a category of analysis, which, from feminism, visible and study the affectation of phenomena in a person according to the different categories to which it belongs. Class condition, ethnic identification, sexual orientation, etc., They are factors that become determinants in the development of people, especially women.

In this essay, intersectionality is addressed as a methodology to analyze access to the women’s justice system. The document aims to address the conceptualization of intersectionality, as can be applied within social investigations, and finally exemplify the use of intersectionality in the analysis of access to justice by women.

In monitoring of the instructions given by the professor, the document was analyzed with an application to detect the possible plagiarism of the document, available on the link: https: // The result of the analysis is …% and is attached as an annex to the present.


The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, who considered that there were categories such as race and gender that intersect and influenced people’s lives … racism did not have the same effects on men as on black women and theseThe consequences of sexism did not live in the same way as white women ((Molina, 2012).

This vision allowed to question feminist currents that based the analysis of the situation of women, only on the inequalities derived from sex, which hid the inequalities and oppressions that women of different ethnicity, class condition, migration situation, etc., they lived.

White or West feminism, as it was called, just pointed out the differences and inequalities created by society between men and women, but left aside those that exist among women themselves. Here intersectionality arises as a tool to make visible those other differences and inequalities between women.

In that sense, it should be understood that societies in general tend to categorize people according to their different characteristics. Thus, a person is not only a man or woman, but also white, mestizo, indigenous, Afro -descendant, poor, rich, adult, girl, etc. These united characteristics make up the person;They cannot be separated, that is, one cannot be just a woman, or only indigenous, she is an indigenous woman.

Intersectionality has been taken and developed by the different feminist movements, which in the analysis of the women’s situation have incorporated tools that allow visible and analyze how phenomena affect people differently according to their membership in different social categories.

In that sense, the use of intersectionality in social sciences has meant an important advance in the development of knowledge. However, it is a perspective that is mainly used by feminist academics, and that can even contradict some currents within feminism as the radical or socialist.

Here it is important, to remember the criticism that from feminism is made to the supposed neutrality of the researcher, since precisely the use of intersectionality allows theoretically positioning, in that it is understood that there are situations such as classism, sexism, racism, racism, etc., And that these situations are not natural but a product of a hierarchical and patriarchal system, a patriarchal system.

In the case of Guatemala, the effects of intersectionality materialize in social indicators, for example, in social indicators such as illiteracy, which in 2011 [were] … indigenous women (48%) and men (25%) In relation to non -indigenous women (19%) and men (11%) (UN Women)

This situation is generalized and we see as issues such as poverty differentiated, indigenous and non -indigenous men and women, being the poorest population in the country indigenous women. The reason for this situation can be developed when applying intersectionality in the study of these problems, an indigenous woman faces worse conditions that a non -indigenous woman, or that an indigenous or non -indigenous man.

When applying intersectionality to a specific issue, the impact that the different categories to which a person has in their life can be better evidenced. Developing differentiated indicators, by sex, gender, ethnic identification, age, sexual orientation, disability, etc. The more disaggregated the indicators are the greatest possibilities of deepening the subject.

Regarding the application of intersectionality to the analysis of the study of access to the justice system by women, it must be remembered, in principle that it is made up of a series of government institutions responsible for applying justice. Public Ministry, Institute of Criminal Department and Judicial Organization, perhaps the main institutions of the criminal justice system are perhaps.

Access under equal conditions to these institutions, is formally guaranteed by the Political Constitution of the Republic of Guatemala, in article 4, which establishes the right to equality. However, in practice different circumstances limit the possibility of accessing justice.

Concrete issues that can limit access to justice are: the distance of institutions, the educational level of the person seeking justics, financial resources for mobilization, gender roles, among others are circumstances that affect different men and women, but also among women these situations affect the mestizas or barking and indigenous people in a way. The latter must add to the list, aspects such as racism within justice operators, idiomatic barriers and the lack of cultural relevance of the system itself.

As for the distance, it is feasible to say that the majority of the institutions of the Justice sector are located in the departmental or municipal headwaters, in the urban area. This represents an increase in time and economic resources that a person in the rural area must invest to access an institution of justice. Evidencing then, that women in the urban area are affected less than those living in the rural area.

The educational level is an important issue in that the ignorance of how the State and its institutions work is a limitation to use these. A person with a low level of schooling is less likely to know the rights and obligations that he has as a citizen, and less demand them. This aspect mainly affects women with a low educational level who, as seen above, are mainly indigenous women.

Regarding the financial resources for the mobilization, it must be contemplated that not only the mobilization is necessary, but the loss of the income of the day that is traveling (the work day) and the food of the person who denounces and his companions (son-ace). The possibility of having the necessary financial resources is linked to the person’s poverty situation. In the country, the highest levels of poverty and extreme poverty are concentrated in the indigenous women of the rural area.

On the other hand, by the gender roles established in Guatemalan society, women are in charge of the care of the son-as. With this, in order to access the justice system, a woman must look for a place or person who attends to her son-as. Both scenarios represent an increase in financial resources, whether you must pay for your care or cover the expenses of your mobilization and food.

In addition to this situation, in the case of women you must evaluate why they approach justice institutions. When reviewing the public ministry data, the crime of violence against women is the most denounced at the national level, being that an average of 50 thousand complaints about this type of facts enter that institution annually.

Making a slightly broader analysis, it can also be evidenced that, in cases of domestic violence and food, the main complainants are women. As well as in cases of sexual violence, most victims are women.

This, from a criminological point of view, occurs due to gender roles established in society, where women are reified and perceived as sexual objects, without rights, which can be violated and attacked. In addition, the responsibility of the son-and falls on them. On the other hand, men are imposed a role of aggressors, careless, who can disregard their dirt.

In that sense, putting a complaint for any of the aforementioned facts represents in itself a challenge for women, because they dare to denounce and break circles of violence. Given this, they do not always find empathy within justice operators, many even with patriarchal arguments seek to deny them, attack them and/or violate them.

In this specific situation, intersectionality allows us to evaluate the impact of putting a complaint of this type between a man and a woman. In the case of crimes of sexual violence, men face different effects that women, their masculinity, their ability to self-protege, their sexual orientation, etc., This does not happen if the victim is a woman.

Apart from all these scenarios, in the case of indigenous women, two important elements must be added: first the levels of racisms and discrimination within society, which materialize in the form of attention they receive in the institutions of the Justice sector;And, second the linguistic barriers within the state.

Thus, the lack of adequate attention is a central issue within the institutions of the justice system. Generally, in none of the profiles of the justice operators contemplates the need to know the culture of the town where it works, so the attention they provide from their own worldview, often imposing their categories of analysis.

In addition, discriminatory and charged treatment of gender or racist stereotypes is frequent. They do not serve women, they do not provide adequate information or in their language, it is not verified that the little information given to them, does not give importance to their cases, lack of due diligence, among others, are situations that evidences the evidencehigh levels of discrimination and racism.

In this aspect, it is also important to deepen with respect to cultural relevance, the understanding of justice value varies from one population to another. Thus, while to compensate for damage to a mestizo or bark. To determine this, it is necessary that the attention respond to the specific requirements of the person and not be imposed by the Justice Operator.

The linguistic barrier is another element that limits access to the justice system by women. Although justice institutions have some interpreters at their headquarters, the reality is that all the languages of the country are not covered. Therefore, the system does not offer an accessible service in the person’s language.

The fact that in most institutions are only spoken Spanish, it is impossible for indigenous women to approach the justice system. In some cases, this is resolved with the accompaniment of a relative or friend who speaks Spanish, which increases the expense, since this entails the payment of mobilization for this person, their diet and even the payment of the work day.

Thus, intersectionality allows to analyze each limitation to access the justice system, and provide differentiated explanations according to their impact on each person according to their characteristics. There are many other limitations that were not addressed here, such as the lack of accesses for people with disabilities in justice system buildings, the absence of protocols for the care of trans women, among others.

The identification of this reality should serve to implement public policies, action protocols and other measures that respond to all these limitations. Until this is not given, you can not talk about conditions of equality in access to the justice system between men and women, or among mestizo or barking women and indigenous women.


  • Intersectionality as an analysis methodology allows to demonstrate the differentiated effects on people according to the categories that define them. This has been developed by feminist groups, since it is an advance in women’s studies as subjects.
  • The use of intersectionality in social sciences can also be considered as a response to feminist criticism of the forms of science and knowledge production. Their statements, allow to deepen the situation of different women.
  • In the specific case analyzed, the use of intersectionality allows distinguishing as limitations to access the justice system affect or oppress indigenous women than non -indigenous people, to whom they live in rural ones over those who live in urban, to those who speak Spanish about those who do not, etc.

This wealth of knowledge could not be obtained but all the characteristics of women, which define them, will be considered, and therefore influence the level of access that the justice system has or not.

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