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Women and Crime - A Contemporary Controversy

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 31 Issue: 1 Dated: (1987) Pages: 31-40
A Crump
Date Published
10 pages
The controversy of recent years regarding the extent and reasons for the rise in female criminality has focused on whether the increase has stemmed from either the women's liberation movement of the 'new feminism' emphasizing female awareness and the right to be feminine.
Freda Adler appears to have initiated the debate about female criminality in her book and article published in 1975. In 'The Rise of the Female Crook,' she argued that the great increase in female crime was a side effect of female emancipation. In fact, the increase in convictions of females is now agreed to result from minor crimes, not from serious crimes. The concept of the modern 'violent' woman is a myth. In contrast to Adler's views, a general consensus also exists that neither the new feminism nor the women's liberation movement are the sole or even an important variable responsible for the increase. Instead, the change appears to result from the interacting effects of three major changes in society over the last few decades: changes in social attitudes, major technological innovations, and the growth of the consumer society and the labor force. All these changes have disrupted old values and norms and produced new views on the roles of both men and women. 1 figure and 44 references.


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