Womens Roles in Court Cases Caracas D az is an associate professor of Latin American history at Indiana University. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, historian Arlene D az shows how the struggle for political power in the modern state reinforced and reproduced patriarchal authority. Law and Its Operation. The Venezuelan constitution granted everyone in the abstract, including women, the right to be citizens and equals, but at the same time permitted the continued use of older Spanish civil laws that accorded women inferior status and granted greater authority to male heads of households.