Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Alarid, Leanne Fiftal, and Velmer S. Burton, Jr.: Gender and Serious Offending
Velmer S. Burton Jr. & LeanneFiftal Alarid
A variety of theories have been used to explain why young girls and women become involved in criminality and the roles they play in the criminal event. Early individual-level explanations ranged from biological inferiorities and chivalrous relations to inherent gender differences to explain females’ criminality. In contrast, broader social-structural explanations suggest that in the criminal world, opportunity structures vary by gender, and that the types of crime committed varies by gender. Given the numerous economic, political, and social gains by women over the past several decades, some scholars have suggested that traditional criminological theories cannot account for gender differences in crime, and that new theoretical approaches need to be undertaken so as to more fully understand women's criminality. In light of this debate, Leanne Fiftal Alarid and Velmer S. Burton, Jr., used traditional theories to examine adult females’ serious offending. In the two investigations summarized below, one qualitatively assessed versus ...