Gender and crime: Toward a Gendered Theory of Female Offending

Darrell Steffensmeier, Emilie Allan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

693 Scopus citations


Criminologists agree that the gender gap in crime is universal: Women are always and everywhere less likely than men to commit criminal acts. The experts disagree, however, on a number of key issues: Is the gender gap stable or variant over time and across space? If there is variance, how may it best be explained? Are the causes of female crime distinct from or similar to those of male crime? Can traditional sociological theories of crime explain female crime and the gender gap in crime? Do gender-neutral or gender-specific theories hold the most explanatory promise? In this chapter we first examine patterns of female offending and the gender gap. Second, we review the "gender equality hypothesis" as well as several recent developments in theorizing about gender differences in crime. Third, we expand on a gendered paradigm for explaining female crime first sketched elsewhere. We conclude with recommendations for future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-487
Number of pages29
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Gender and crime: Toward a Gendered Theory of Female Offending'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this