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Valentina Montoya Robledo

S.J.D. Candidate

Graduate Fellow, LL.M. Writers’ Workshop

vmontoyarobledo at


Local Government Law Related to Public Transportation Affecting Domestic Workers in Latin American Cities

In most Latin American countries, poor, undereducated women perform domestic work. According to the ILO, seventeen million women are domestic workers (DW) in Latin America, accounting for 95% of all DW in the region. Only in Colombia, there are more than a million. Domestic work is highly precarious since it includes long working hours, low remuneration and social security coverage, and low compliance with labor and employment law regulations.

Most DW inhabit peripheral areas of rapidly expanding Latin American cities. They face long commutes, changing landscapes –from impoverished and sometimes informal settlements where they live, to higher income residences where they work-, and urban gender violence. They also face the possibility of encountering new avenues for collective action and exposing themselves to vibrant democracy and ideas.

Local Government Law (LGL) on public transportation directly affects the lives of DW in at least three ways: 1) enabling or disabling DW from becoming politically organized citizens; 2) enabling or disabling DW from having more or less time to take do care work at home; 3) improving or worsening DW’ chance to enjoy free time.

My purpose is to identify the network of LGL connected to public transportation currently in place in Medellín, and Bogotá, and its impact on DW that inhabit these cities and the neighboring municipalities. Likewise, understanding how these laws could respond to the needs and rights of DW and other social groups within cities of the global south.

Fields of Research and Supervisors

  • Local government law and Slums: formality and informality with Professor Gerald Frug, Harvard Law School, Principal Faculty Supervisor
  • The family and the market in law and legal theory with Professor Janet Halley, Harvard Law School
  • Theory of Social Movements with Professor Lucie White, Harvard Law School
  • Anthropology of the city with Professor Ajantha Subramanian, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Additional Research Interests

  • Gender and Women’s Rights
  • Human Rights
  • Law and Society


  • Harvard Law School, S.J.D. Candidate 2014-Present
  • Harvard Law School, LL.M. Program, 2012-2013 (requirements fulfilled, degree waived)
  • Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, M.A. Legal Theory, 2012
  • Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, B.A. Political Science, 2010
  • Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, LL.B., 2009

Academic Appointments and Fellowships

  • Harvard Law School, 2015-2018, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Writers’ Workshop
  • Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Women and Gender Studies, Spring 2017, Junior Tutorial Fellow
  • Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Women and Gender Studies, Fall 2016, American Social Bodies Teaching Fellow
  • Harvard Law School, 2014-2015, Graduate Program Fellow, LL.M. Advisor

Representative Publications

Additional Information

Languages: English, Spanish, French

Last Updated: August 13, 2017