Lecture 8 06/11/12
Gender and Crime I: The Female Offender
Gender: the strongest relationship is between crime and gender. In 2011 the adults that
were charged in Canada were men. 2 ways looking at it: 1) why are men committing
crimes? 2) What causes women to commit crimes? Why is there a small amount of
1. The Image : perceptions of female criminality
2. The Evidence : profiles of female preceding
3. Explaining female offending
4. Female offending and violence against women
The Image: perceptions of femal criminaltty
The media places a great deal of attention of the small number of high prfile cases
where women or girls commit crimes.
1. “Nast: Girls and “Unruly” Women.
2. Public perceptions
a) Rates of female crime are ion the rise
b) Women and in particular young girls are becoming more violent.
c) Equalization of opportunities and the disappearance of the “Gender Gap.”
The Image: perceptions of female criminality
1. “nasty” girls and “unruly” women
2. Public perceptions
a) Rates of female crimes are on the rise
b) Women and in particular young girls are becoming more violent
The evidence: profiles of female offending
1) Increasing rates of criminal behaviour on the part of girls and a narrowing of the “Gender
gap” Lecture 8 06/11/12
E.g. 1968-2005: rate for criminal code for offences for men increased 160 %;
compared to women 482%
Violent crimes: 380% for men; 1573% for women; significant increase.
Property crime: 110% for men, 390% for women
1979-2009: women were responsible for 15% of all adults charged for criminal
offences; by 2009, women were responsible for 20% for criminal offences in
1980-1990: youth crimes increased significantly. 1989-1999: increases inn youth
crimes. Female youth crimes had an 80% rate of increase, male youth crimes was
about 30% rate of increase.
1986-2005: rate of serious violent crime doubled from 60 - 132 per hundred
thousand = women. (it’s the rate)
2. Majority of female crimes are non-violent = represent small proportion of all female
crime and the figure has remained unchangeable.
Number of females charged with murder and attempted murder has been constant;
also those charges are creditably rare.
Property offences= shoplifting, common assault, violations, failure to appear in
3. Evidence of re-labeling and the discovery of “new” offenses = the chain is the way we
react to female violence, then female violence itself.
The idea of re-labeling; acts of violence committed by women are more serious
than they are in the past, such that some behaviours may have been ignored or
being reported to the police.
Discovery of new offences – 1980’s mandatory arrests were put into place, where
the police could lay charges if someone was assaulted. It would not be up to the
4. Women and the “War on Drugs”= began early 1980’s and the majority of the groups is
women and for minor relative possessions. Bottom of the drug trade, they were invisible
and in the U.S its African American women.
5. Women as victims = have physical, psychological abuse.
Explaining female offending
1) Lombroso (1900): Masculinity Thesis; believed there were fewer female criminals
WHY? Women are primitive and are natural and passive. If they did commit crime Lecture 8 06/11/12
then they have male traits and since these masculinity women were committing
crimes they were believed
Too be abnormal.
2) Pollack (1961): The Criminality of Women; 2 aspects to his theory
a. Causes of female crimes: fraud, prostitution, embezzlement. They had to explain the
trait or personality