How Early Criminologists Approached Female Offending
A few decades ago, it was considered that crime is typically a male phenomenon, and the study of female criminality was mostly disregarded, resulting in the lack of theoretical materials on women’s offending. However, since the 1980s, female law-breaking and domestic violence have fallen into the spotlight of various research attempting to examine factors, patterns, roots, and shared features. Specifically, Freda Adler, who proposed the masculinity theory, occupies a prominent niche in criminological research. The approach argues that female criminality mainly depends on women’s masculine behavior and that empowered women are engaged in more severe delinquency than non-empowered women. Thus, in civilizations, crime tends to rise due to the empowerment of women and their subsequent acquired virile characteristics. Presently, the theory is considered to be gender-biased and sexually partial.
The second remarkable scholar trying to explain female criminality was Rita J. Simon. In her book “Women and Crime,” Simon suggests that there is no significant distinction between sexes in terms of morality and that biological qualities do not play a substantial role in committing crimes. The critical point is that, historically, men are more involved in delinquency because they have more considerable social opportunities, rights, and competencies than women. In this regard, when female opportunities increase, the female criminality rate grows correspondingly. The current scholars criticize the approach because it does not consider class, religion, and employment factors.
The third noticeable theory is the economic marginalization theory proposed by Daly and Chesney-Lind to determine the female criminality nature and its etiology. The proponents of this perspective assert that causes of female criminality are principally connected with their position marginalized by the less secured job, unrespectful occupation, and low salary. That is, women are encouraged to commit wrongdoing as a rational response to forced economic insecurity and poverty. The theory currently is highly debatable and does not have substantial scientific support.