Violence against Women and Political Participation in Contexts of Criminal Violence

Abby Cordova

A Kellogg Work-in-Progress Seminar with Visiting Fellow Abby Córdova.

Kellogg Visiting Fellow Abby Córdova will present a chapter of her book project entitled, “Violence against Women and Political Participation in Contexts of Criminal Violence.” In this chapter, she explores one of the three central questions of her book: How does criminal organizations’ territorial control exacerbate female residents’ vulnerability to gender-based violence? Drawing from literatures on criminal violence and civil wars, she argues that criminal organizations engage in violence against women as part of their strategy to help maintain territorial control. More specifically, with a focus on gang violence in El Salvador, she posits that in territories where the state has a low presence, criminal organizations’ hegemony results in a spiral of violence against women in the streets of neighborhoods and within homes. This dynamic, she argues, is largely perpetuated by diminished reporting rates resulting from fear of gang retaliation and more negative perceptions of the police.  

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, she examines whether women’s experiences with gender-based violence vary depending on whether they reside in a gang-controlled territory or a nearby zone. Her analysis relies on data from five different sources, including three nationally representative victimization surveys and two national censuses on population and school characteristics. Using a novel spatial indicator of gang territorial control, she maps out distances from survey respondents’ census tract of residence to known gang-controlled areas, finding support for her hypotheses.

Work-in-Progress Seminars are designed to generate in-depth discussion of new scholarly work. For the pre-circulated paper and to attend, register with

Speakers / Related People
Abby Córdova

Abby Córdova is an associate professor of global affairs in the Keough School of Global Affairs whose research integrates topics related to crime, violence, gender and economic inequality, and international migration. Her work uses experimental and non-experimental research designs, as well as advanced statistical methods...
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