When you think of a stereotypical criminal, you tend to think of a male. It is unlikely the image of a female will come to mind when imagining a criminal. And if you look at prison statistics, you might think this stereotype was justified. According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, in Canada females only make up 5% of the prison population, and in the USA this figure goes up to 6.9%. Furthermore, 81% of the women in prison in the USA are in prison for non-violent crimes.
While there are still much less women in prison than men, the rate of women being convicted is rising drastically, faster than the rate of men, suggesting this “criminal gap” is fast closing. There is debate about whether this rise is due to reporting and conviction policies, or whether women are genuinely starting to commit more crimes.
The FBI (2010) found that the most common offences committed by women where theft, driving under the influence, and drug offences. Considering it’s so uncommon for women to commit crime, theories on why some women do become criminal are extremely useful. Here are five possible explanations for female criminality.