Gendered Theory of Female Offending

Steffensmeier, Darrell and Emilie Allan. 1996. “Gender and Crime: Toward a Gendered Theory of Female Offending.” Annual Review of Sociology. Vol.22, pp.459-487.

As I have learned in the Criminal Justice discipline I have noticed that men and women commit crimes for different reasons and different ways. For example men are more prone to use weapons as with women they are more prone not to. Women also are less likely to harm someone during the commission of a crime whereas men are more likely to. In pretty much every aspect of crime men and women are almost completely opposite. In Steffensmeiers book he solidifies this argument with facts.

He starts off with the abstract of why female offending is less than their male counterparts. What is going on with the gender gap and tries to explain what exactly is happening in female offending as of late.

1. Female and Male Patterns of Offending

             A. Males and Females alike offend at equal levels when it comes to minor property and    substance abuse crimes

             B. However, when it comes to major crimes such as robbery and murder the gender gap separates and the males lead the way in offending. (The only crime women do more than men is            prostitution.)

2. Applying Traditional Theory to the Explanation of Gendered Crime Patterns

             A. These different theories show the disparity in both male and female offending

             B. The focus on most is why do females commit far less crime than males do. Also, when engaging crime why are they far less likely to harm someone

3. The Gender Gap and Crime

             A. This idea shows the stark contrast in male and female offenders especially

             B. Not only does it show the difference between males and females but the different ages,            races, and backgrounds of each as well

4. The Gender Equality Hypothesis

             A. This theory was once the standard for explaining female offending before the 1970’s

             B. It was founded that women offended less in prior decades because they were not equal with     men but as time and eras passed on women started to become more equal to men thus is why       they started to offend more like men

             C. BOTTOM LINE: with increase equality among the sexes, female offending is going to rise too

5. Recent Trends in Female Crime And the Women’s Movement

             A. The question has arose that because of the Women’s Movement in the United States, the          crime rate of female offenders has gone up because of it

             B. Based off of facts from UCR (Uniformed Crime Report) data, during the years of the     movement crime rates for minor crimes were increased

             C. The argument is that with the greater freedoms to women guaranteed because of the movement thus explained the greater role woman played in the public spectrum

6. Alternatives for Gender Gap Differences and Trends

             A. These include but are not limited to: Increased Opportunities for Female types of crimes;          Trends in female drug dependency; and Gender Equality(to a far lesser extent)

7. Other Criticisms of the Gender Equality Hypothesis

             A. Scholars believe that the Gender Quality Hypothesis suppressed any other theories that could    have been developed due to the rise of female offenders.

(The following are forms of Gender Equality Hypothesis 8-10)

8. Criticisms of Power Control

             A. That it accepts the Gender Equality Theory with no hesitation

9. Traditional Gender Roles of Female Offenders

             A. Is assumed by both male and female offenders immediately

10. Homicide and Burglary Trends

             A. Ignores the major crimes of both murder and robbery and the use of deadly weapons

11. Application of Traditional Theory to Explanation of Gender Gap

             A. The simple fact that females are less prone to have the same interactions as their male              counterparts do

12. Toward a Gendered Theory

             A. No one criminologist has explained what theories work best for males and females as of yet

13. Key Elements of a Gender Approach

             A. Should explain why both men and women commit crime

             B. Should account for what kind of crime was committed, how often it was committed and what    were the differences between the males and females who committed them

             C. Explain how female offenders came to the realization that they had to offend in the first place

             D. Why are the differences in crime like they are

Overall Summary

             A. First we have to understand that their similarities as well as differences when it comes to          both male and female offending

             B. Traditional Theories have a lot of credit to them but seldom receive it because they are              overshadowed by Gender Equality Theory

             C. Finally because women offend so much less than males do when it comes to violent crimes it    is hard to get a “read” because the statistics do not add up because there are so few females       offending and so many males offending



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