Department or Program

Peace and Justice Studies

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Nadya Hajj


In contemporary Guatemala, women frequently fall victim to the crime of feminicide, the “systematic” “killing of females by males because they are females (Tierney FitzGerald 2016, 2; Russell 2001, 13).” By drawing on scholarship from multiple academic disciplines including Women’s and Gender Studies, Theological Studies, Peace and Justice Studies and Political Science, this study aims to expand its readers’ understanding of feminicide and increase their ability to help address this phenomenon. To do so, I answer the central research question: Though it has acted as a protector of the country’s most vulnerable communities in the past, is the Catholic Church, in fact, working to reduce rates of feminicide in post-civil war Guatemala? And, if so how? An analysis of the Guatemalan Catholic Church’s nine post-war collective pastoral letters, the individual actions of the thirty-one Guatemalan Catholic bishops who signed those letters, and the programs hosted by six Guatemalan Catholic social organizations ultimately reveals this religious institution is neither working to reduce the country’s feminicide rate nor acting in ways that cause it to worsen.