Pollak, Otto: The Hidden Female Offender
The majority of criminologists throughout the 19th and 20th centuries were primarily focused on explaining male offending patterns. The exclusion of the examination of female offending is not unique to criminology. Other academic disciplines (e.g., medicine) have historically excluded females from research investigations. Criminologists of these eras attributed criminal behavior to biological or social factors that were beyond the control of an individual. However, the focus was on explaining male criminality. The failure to explore female criminality may be attributed to the fact that those putting forth theories of offending were male criminologists or that, since male criminality was more prevalent, criminologists focused their attention on these offenders. In 1950, Otto Pollak asserted that the criminality of women is a neglected field of research and proposed his own explanations for female offending. This entry devotes discussion to theoretical precursors to Pollak's explanations for female offending, his theory, empirical support for ...