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Social Correlates of Delinquency. Gender. Our Knowledge Gap on Gender and Delinquency. It is commonly believed that girls engage primarily in status offenses; boys in more serious delinquent offenses Issue of female delinquency did not receive much scholarly attention until the 1960’s

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our knowledge gap on gender and delinquency
Our Knowledge Gap on Gender and Delinquency
  • It is commonly believed that girls engage primarily in status offenses; boys in more serious delinquent offenses
  • Issue of female delinquency did not receive much scholarly attention until the 1960’s
  • Most of the classical theories, therefore, are based on observations of male delinquency and may not be as appropriate to females
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Mr.StreetmanJason1102 - 280 BypassPhenix CityAL36867Charles BradshawFall, 1999Nature and Extent of Male and Female Delinquency
explaining female vs male delinquency
Explaining Female (vs. male) Delinquency

Two Broad Categories of Explanations

  • “Trait” Views
    • Center on intrinsic biological and mental traits attributed to being “female” or “male”
  • Sociological Explanations
    • Focus on different social experiences boys and girls
trait explanations for female delinquency
“Trait” Explanations for Female Delinquency
  • Lombroso--The Female Offender
    • Women are lower on the evolutionary scale
  • Pollack--The Criminality of Women
    • Onset of criminality linked to menstruation, pregnancy and menopause
    • Chivalry Hypothesis accounts for lower rates of female delinquency
  • Freud--Penis Envy
    • Lack of penis unconscious sign of punishment, resulting in inferiority complex
    • Failure to resolve penis envy might result in crime
  • Gluecks--Precocious Sexuality
    • Early sexual experimentation by girls results in later delinquency
  • Hormonal Explanations
    • Testosterone Levels
    • Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
sociological explanations for female delinquency
Sociological Explanations for Female Delinquency
  • Differential Supervision of boys and girls
  • Quality of parental relations
  • Feminist explanations
    • Hagan’s “power-control” theory
  • Societal Reaction explanations
changing gender patterns
Changing Gender Patterns
  • Over the past 30 years, the gender gap in delinquency has been gradually converging
    • From 1990-1994:
      • male arrest rate increased by 19%, while female rate increased by 31%
      • male arrest rate for serious violent crime increased by 23%, while female rate increased by 48%
    • Self-report data also suggesting that females are engaging in more typically “male” offenses
explaining changing gender patterns
Explaining Changing Gender Patterns
  • Freda Adler--Sisters in Crime
    • focus on impact of women’s liberation
  • Rita Simon--The Contemporary Woman and Crime
    • focus on changing sex roles
  • Joseph Weis
    • focus on changing school influences
  • Differential societal reaction