Trends in female violence, 1960–1977

Darrell J. Steffensmeier, Renee Hoffman Steffensmeier, Alvin S. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This paper examines the issue of whether levels of female violent crime are rising. Two differing viewpoints, both using the Uniform Crime Reports as their principal data source, are compared. Both viewpoints suffer because of a failure to specify the major questions on female violent crime and because of inappropriate usage of UCR arrest statistics. The central questions about female violent crime are clarified, and arrest rates are computed to determine whether there has been any change in levels of female violent crime since 1960. The effects of the women's movement on female violent crime are also examined. The conclusion is that female levels of violence are rising, but male levels are increasing at an equal pace. The pattern of the data suggests that the upward trend in female violence, which now appears to be leveling off, is not due to the women's movement or to the changing status of women in the United States. Instead it appears that common social forces are operating to affect levels of violence for both sexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-227
Number of pages11
JournalSociological Focus
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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