The Criminality of Women

The Criminality of Women

The Criminality of Women

The Criminality of Women

Synopsis

The author tries to demonstrate that "we have little choice but to accept the conclusion that the numerical sex differential in crime as visualized in the past is a myth."

Excerpt

The criminality of women is a neglected field of research. Our mental picture of the criminal is that of a male violator of the law, and criminological research seems to have been largely under the spell of this cultural stereotype. The lack of scientific attention to the problems presented by women offenders is probably due to the ever recurrent observation that considerably smaller numbers of women come into contact with the law‐ enforcing agencies than do men. Women, however, represent about half of our population and live under conditions which may often protect them against the detection or prosecution of crime. These conditions suggest that female criminality deserves more research interest than it has received, no matter how small its numerical importance may appear on the basis of criminal statistics taken at their face value.

Within recent years various scholars have drawn attention to this neglect of the study of the criminality of women. Thorsten Sellin and Walter C. Reckless did so in two research memoranda published by the Social Science Research Council, T. E. Sullenger in an article in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and Harry Elmer Barnes and Negley K. Teeters in their book on New Horizons in Criminology. These research suggestions will probably be taken up in the near future, and it is the purpose of this study to assist in such endeavors by presenting an integrated analysis of the major conjectures and research findings so far available in the American, English, French, and German literature. Some references will also be made to Italian, Dutch, and South American material, but source material from these countries is not presented with any claim to coverage because of the limited language competence of the writer, which prevented his ready access to these sources.

The nature of the problem of female criminality has been differently conceived by the authors who have paid attention to . . .

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