Women, undeniably, have been all but invisible for much of criminology's history."
Women have never been as prominent as their male counterparts in criminology, so much so, they can be said to have been ignored for many centuries and it was not until the turn of the 20th century that women who committed crimes were really included in criminological discourse. The advent of the feminist movements throughout this time beginning with the suffragettes to the current Fawcett commission established in 2003, has seen the realisation of women's rights and the struggle for 'equality' supposedly at an end. But as we will see, non-feminist explanations for female criminality still leave much to be desired of as most parts of criminology along with society appears to be wedded to the conventional and stereotypical views of women, with the feminist explanations casting a new view on how women ought to be studied within the field of criminology.
This paper aims to discuss and evaluate the various criminological explanations of women's involvement in crime, and suggest possibilities that obviate the traditional reasoning which passes female criminality off as purely biological. The discussion of the criminological explanations will take on two focal threads: why some women commit crime and why the majority do not. Using government statistics from England and Wales, specifically those after the second wave of the feminist movement in the 1960s and the present day, incidence, types and trends of female criminality will be explored. After the issues and problems within the statistics have been identified, I will then discuss whether criminologists can explain conclusively the reason for these findings.
Do we need to study female criminality?
Criminology is the study...