, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 111-125

Sex roles and criminality: Science or conventional wisdom?

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It is argued that past theoretical work on female crime and delinquency has employed and built upon a set of nonrational sexist assumptions which have rarely been explicitly articulated in the work itself. And yet the theory on female misconduct cannot be adequately comprehended without an awareness of this accompanying set of assumptions. Until these ideas are critically examined and subjected to empirical scrutiny, progress will not be made in understanding female criminality and the allegation that it is on the increase.

We are grateful to Tom Hood, Jennifer James, and Jeanie Shover for helpful comments on the initial draft of this paper. A very different version was read at the meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, San Francisco, August 24, 1975.