Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Abigail A. Fagan
Although gender is likely the strongest predictor of criminal involvement, its influence on offending is not well understood. In fact, early theorizing about the causes of crime tended to focus on structural forces rather than gender. Recent work, however, particularly that conducted by feminists, highlights the disparity in male and female offending and victimization rates and explores why these differences persist over time and place. Whereas sex is defined as the biological and physiological division between men and women, gender refers to the disparity between males and females that is socially constructed and reinforced by institutions, culture, and everyday interactions. Gender differences are most apparent when examining the social stereotypes that result in different attitudes, actions, and expectations of masculinity and femininity. In fact, sex and gender are often used interchangeably by researchers, perhaps because of the difficulty in discerning whether differences between women and men can be attributed Likewise, ...