Stacy De Coster, Karen Heimer, and Samantha R. Cumley
Females are less likely than males to violate the law, a statement that has become a criminological truism and might help explain why the major theoretical paradigms in criminology tend to focus more on male offending than on female delinquency. Although females are less likely to engage in illegal behavior, they do so nonetheless. This article looks at the major criminological paradigms—control, strain, and learning—and the extent to which they have addressed female delinquency as well as the gender gap in delinquency. While it is true that the most prominent theories in each paradigm pay little attention to gender, some have suggested that these theories can explain delinquency in both males and females. In other words, the theories are believed to be gender-neutral. Indeed, there is empirical evidence to support the argument that the major social-psychological processes and variables in these theories—social bonds, self-control, strain, and learning—influence male and female delinquency.
Men commit the majority of white-collar crime. The participation of women in corporate and occupational fraud is limited, and the role they may play in the future is unknown. This chapter explores historical and current perspectives of the gendered nature of white-collar crime. Women’s lack of opportunity in the workforce has restricted their access to illegal behavior, although mid-level employment positions contribute to a high number of female embezzlers. The existing research suggests women remain marginalized as pink-collar workers and criminals, despite speculation that occupational, professional, and political crimes are increasing. Current literature shows continued levels of low female involvement in white-collar crime because of workplace, social, and gendered barriers. Further research is needed to identify if and how women and white-collar crime are connected.
Jean Marie McGloin and Stephanie DiPietro
One of the controversial issues in criminology is the notion that females are less likely than males to commit a crime. Although scholars have hotly debated the changing magnitude of the gender gap in recent years, they have not devoted so much attention to whether females exhibit disproportionately lower rates of crime—particularly violent crime—than males. Given the persistence of the gender gap in offending, it is not surprising then that research on criminal behavior has relegated females to an ancillary role. This article explores the relationship between gender and offending as it pertains to the peer group, specifically friends. It argues that deviant peer influence is a strong and important predictor of both male and female offending. It examines this risk for female offenders and explains why certain peers—namely those of the opposite sex—may exert a particularly powerful influence over females.
Edwin Sutherland (1949, p. 9) defined white-collar crime as “a crime by a person of high social status in the course of his occupation.” Consistent with this gender-specific definition, the bulk of early scholarship on occupational crime and corporate crime focuses primarily on males. More recently, however, criminologists have begun to examine the extent and nature of female involvement in these workplace-based offenses. This essay provides an overview of the historical and contemporary literature on gender regarding two types of white-collar crime: occupational crime and corporate crime. Topics examined include the gendered organization of the workplace, theoretical explanations for offending, societal reactions to white-collar crime, and victimization. Implications for future research and public policy, particularly with regard to crime prevention in the workplace, are also discussed.