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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Historical analysis of records relating to crime and criminality going back many centuries has revealed both continuities and variable trends in the participation rates of men and women in crime. This essay focuses primarily on violent crime and property offenses. While the persistence of males as the majority perpetrators of most recorded crimes has remained true since the Middle Ages, the participation rate of women in certain offenses in particular times and places is noteworthy. Explanations for fluctuations in male and female participation rates are found in the cultural and historical contexts shaping legislation as well as in the changes in social roles for men and women or their economic circumstances. Historical evidence for these trends is richer for states of the West, and future research is required in non-Western regions as well as states with colonial antecedents.

Keywords: violence, historical trends, medieval, early modern, England, western Europe

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