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Problem of Female Crime

NCJ Number
Monatsschrift fuer Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform Volume: 65 Issue: 4 Dated: (August 1982) Pages: 219-229
L Keupp
Date Published
11 pages
Quantitatively, women commit only a small percentage of all crimes (10 to 20 percent) and qualitatively, the crimes committed by women are concentrated within a few limited offense categories (predominantly abortion, child abuse, and property crimes). To explain these two salient features of female criminality, it is necessary to understand the differences in socialization experienced by men and women.
Deviance and conformity have common roots for both sexes. Therefore, specific differences in behavior must be connected exclusively with differences in socialization, which for women is mainly oriented to the social values of group life and human coexistence, while males are encouraged to compete and aggressively assume dominant roles. Over long-term internalization of the socially imposed values, females tend far less than males to employ strategies of acting out or of following aggressive or destructive patterns. Thus, deficiently socialized women are more likely to manifest various forms of noncriminal deviance that are better tolerated by society and less overtly destructive than the male tendency toward violent acts. Characteristic forms of female criminality, when they appear, are a reaction to real or imagined social or economic needs. Female criminality emanates reaction from specific situations perceived as dangerous and too complex for the coping skills derived from inadequate socialization. One table and about 40 references are given.


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