A large part of feminist criminology has arisen as a result of radical crime theories. Feminist crime theories investigate the influence of gender differences on crime phenomena. The advocates of this approach criticize that in other approaches and crime theories a transferability of the postulated connections – which are mostly based on the behavior of male perpetrators/test persons – to women is simply assumed.
The feminist-etiological approach assumes that the low crime rate among women can be explained by the gender-specific socialisation background. The values and norms set by society and the ‘intended’ female role model mean that women have less opportunity to commit criminal acts.
In addition, biological and anthropological approaches link the factors of physical weakness and psychological passivity with female crime. Inequalities in the treatment of women by the criminal justice system have been studied by both conflict theorists and radical theorists.
Feminist criminology sees itself, among other things, as a further development of critical criminology and is unanimous in its view that the criminal justice system is based on an asymmetrical relationship of power (powerful vs. powerless; woman vs. man). However, to date there are no comprehensive theories that explain the lower number of women convicted of delinquency compared to delinquent men.
Gerlinda Smaus and Monika Frommel can be called important feminist criminologists who deal with critical criminology, labelling approaches and biological factors in the feminism debate.
Critical appreciation & relevance
By explaining female crime through biological, psychological or socialisation factors, the ” female weakness ” is focused as a cause. The attribution of the “weak sex” has a blocking effect in times of emancipation and assigns a subordinate role to women.
Implications for criminal policy
The view of feminist criminology is strongly represented today. Since the 1990s, the role of women has once again moved to the centre of attention. Far from the question of why women become less criminals than men, women as victims of crime have become the main focus of attention. Violence against women, laws to protect against violence, prostitution and forced marriage are fields of attention that are increasingly being considered by criminal law scholars and criminologists.