Historically, of their male counterparts; as mentioned in the

    Historically, males have been more delinquent than females (Goodkind, Wallace, Shook,
Bachman, & O’Malley, 2009). However, an
increase in girls justice system involvement and current media and press
portrayals of females; especially those between the ages of 10 to 17 as
identified across Australia as youth with a criminal responsibility, suggest
that female delinquency, particularly their participation in violent crime, is
becoming similar to that of their male counterparts; as mentioned in the women’s
liberation hypothesis (Goodkind, Wallace, Shook,
Bachman, & O’Malley, 2009) (Urbas, 2000) (Kim, WOMEN’S LIBERATION THEORY, 2002). A hypothesis which
suggests that women’s involvement in violent crime will come to resemble men’s
participation more closely, as gender equality, inequality of opportunity and
inequality of condition between males and females is diminished by women’s equality
and greater social participation. (Kim, WOMEN’S
LIBERATION THEORY, 2002). Furthermore, theories such as the offender
generated hypothesis, the policy generated hypothesis and the feminist pathway theory also help to explore and
evaluate the proposition of convergence in youth violent offending (Steffensmeier &
Feldmeyer, ARE GIRLS MORE VIOLENT TODAY THAN A GENERATION AGO? PROBABLY NOT.,
2006) (Wattanaporn &
Holtfrete, 2014).

 

 

   In the 1970s, Rita Simon and Freda Alder published
‘The Second Sex’ and ‘Sisters in Crime: The Rise of the New Female Criminal’,
respectively, in which they reported that women’s rates of crime and violence
were increasing at a faster speed then men’s offending, thus creating a gender
convergence in violent offending (de Beauvoir, 2015) (Adler, 1975). Violent crime occurs
when an offender threatens or uses force
upon a victim (Chappell, 2009). Gender convergence can be described
as the blurring of sex roles in modern society in which men and women
increasingly express similar attitudes and behaviours and partake in similar
roles that were once gender confined or defined (Hale, Hayward, Wahidin, & Wincup, 2013). The reports that
the gender gap in arrests for violent crime and offences is narrowing may in
fact represent a change in women’s behaviour over the last few decades with
rising feminist views, changing definitions of what crime is and changed
behaviour within society (Goodkind, Wallace, Shook,
Bachman, & O’Malley, 2009). Although, few researchers have
offered an explanation for this change one of the most known arguments is the
women’s liberation hypothesis. This hypothesis asserts that as women gain
social power and freedom, they are subject to fewer informal controls. They,
therefore, should have more opportunities to commit and engage in crimes
traditionally associated with males such as violence and thus close the gender
gap in crime rates (Kim, WOMEN’S
LIBERATION THEORY, 2002) (Adler, 1975). The most widely held concept concerning female
criminality is that, as a direct consequence of the women’s movement, will be
an upsurge in female’s criminal activity (Chesney-Lind & Pasko,
2004).
This hypothesis was a
defining point in the history of criminological thought, as women’s
participation in crime was put under an academic spotlight along with the
growing feminism wave which opened up the debate that if women, especially female youth, gained more access to
the legitimate public sphere, would their access to the illegitimate sphere
also be increased (Steffensmeier &
Feldmeyer, ARE GIRLS MORE VIOLENT TODAY THAN A GENERATION AGO? PROBABLY NOT.,
2006)? 

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