We examine rival explanations of trends in the female share of offending in property crimes since 1960, with particular emphasis on the gender equality or “liberation” thesis. The alternative explanations examined focus on trends in the economic marginality of females and trends in formal policing. The analysis is based on U.S. arrest data covering the 1960-1985 period, with data from a variety of sources that provide aggregate measures of each of the alternative explanations. The findings do not support the traditional liberation thesis. Instead they show that trends in the female share of offending are largely a function of trends in formal policing, and less so of trends in the economic marginalization of females. These findings based on U.S. data are consistent with those of other researchers who have reported recently on cross-national data. At the end of the report, we discuss the significance of our findings for research and theory on female crime.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine