This chapter provides an overview of the research that has been conducted on female criminality as a source of empowerment. The academics on gender and crime reflect patriarchy (Covington and Bloom, 2003);  it treats female criminality as ancillary to males while mainly focusing on women’s subordination and victimisation (Banarjee et al, 2014). This chapter on the other hand will explore literature that contradicts this narrative. It will look at research that views women as perpetrators rather than victims. Social norms impose that women are presumed to be nurturing and passively conforming (Banarjee et al, 2014). Hence the common conception of female offenders is that they commit crime due to their own victimisation and being in the control of others (Russell, 2013). Because of this society has been stagnant in recognising females as offenders.  Female criminality is not only a question of acceptance, victimisation, status and low self esteem (Taylor, 1993), but research in this area also shows that women view what they are doing as self empowering (Taylor, 1993; Moore and Hagedorn, 2001; Campbell, 2008; Anderson, 2005).Chesney-Lind and Pasko (2013; pp 45) state that female criminality has been “neglected, “sexualized” and “oversimplified”. The reason for this is due to biased and gendered stereotypes of researchers (Chesney-Lind and Pasko, 2013). Thus female criminality as a source of empowerment has been disregarded in criminology (Anderson, 2005; Campbell, 2008). Most studies of female delinquency focus on the notion that women tend to occupy the weakest positions in criminal activities (such as those in gangs) and also hold the position of an accomplice (Moore and Hagedorn, 2001). According to Chesney-Lind and Pasko (2013) females are forced to play tertiary and auxiliary roles to men who give them orders. However McRobbie and Garber (1975) assert that some females are the top of the hierarchy in criminal organisations (for example, Zulema in Campbell’s (2008) study) however they are characterised as being accounted for yet invisible (McRobbie and Garber 1975). Moreover females are now committing more crimes than ever before (Ministry of Justice, 2015) and they are no longer just accomplices to boys (Moore and Hagedorn, 2001). Chesney-Lind and Pasko (1992) describes females engaging in crime as being “hard as the weapons they wield”. And now research is starting to avoid traditional understandings of gender roles in association with female offenders.The highly held belief in regards to female criminality is that there is a correlation between the women’s movement and a rise in female offending (Meda-Chesney et al, 1988; Weis, 1976). Meda-Chesney, (1988) describes this as “the shady side of liberation”. Liberation refers to the social changes which resulted in women’s greater rights and freedom (Campbell, 1999). Introduced by Alder (1975) was the analysis of the ‘new’ female criminal. This analysis suggests that liberation is leading to a new type of female criminal and also a rise in the female crime rate (Alder, 1975; Weis, 1976).  The liberation thesis argues women’s involvement in crime is becoming parallel to those of mens due to the fact that they are  more liberated from patriarchy (Alder,1975). In a study by Bourgeois (2003) he reported that female roles in crime such as being a crackhouse manager supports the notion that they are able to reverse patriarchy. Thus moving beyond the one dimensional view of female criminality in regards to female oppression and marginality (Bourgeois, 2003). However Chesney-Lind and Pasko (2013) argues that it is correct is stating that women are traversing into male crimes such as drugs; however this is to support a way of life that is not is not seen as liberating (prostitution for example).Ngaire Naffine outlined the assumptions of the liberation theory in her book The Construction of Women in Criminology (2015). Naffine (2015) states that liberation can be associated with female criminality acquiring competitive instincts. For example structural opportunities for employment has opened the door for women to commit white collar crime (Alder, 1975) According to Naffine (2015) females are now more “assertive”, “aggressive” and “masculine” and their desire for power has been heightened. Thus empowerment and liberation is causing women to engage in more crime in order to fulfil this need.  Campbell (2008) suggests that enhanced freedom when associated with economic deterioration leads to greater female crime (Campbell, 2008).  This is what Campbell (2008) refers to as a “case of limited cultural liberation”. Hunnicut and Broidy (2004) suggest that liberation and marginalisation should be seen as integral rather than opposing. They advocate that the increase of female criminality in the drug trade is  to the effects of great social freedom (liberation) and economic marginalisation. This is supported by Moore and Hagedorn (2001) who found that some women see gang involvement as liberating. It allows them to create a substitute for community and femininity outside patriarchy (Moore and Hagedorn, 2001). Despite this Campbell (2008) criticises the relevance of liberation and marginalisation as it fails to to take into consideration class and cultural differences.Despite the evident correlation in the increase of women’s liberation and the increase in crime; Alders liberation thesis has been criticised. Women’s liberation movement started in the 1960s and continued throughout the 1970s (Roth, 2004). Female crime rate on the other hand started to rise in the 1950s (Godfrey and Lawrence, 2005 ); way before women’s liberation movement. Thus it is not sufficient enough to use the movement as justification for the increase in female criminality. Furthermore Naffine (2015) explains how many criminologists have tested out Alders thesis and found that he was wrong. Women are less likely to offend if they feel more liberated. This is because their attitudes become more feminine (Naffine, 2015). Campbell (1999) also criticises the liberation approach as it ignores the broad positive impact of the women’s movement.The masculinity theory of offending founded by sociologist Talcott Parsons can be used to explain the difference in delinquency between boys and girls. The theory suggests that crime is inappropriate for women which explains their conformity (Banarjee et al, 2014). However Parsons original concept of sex roles and masculinity in relation to offending has been criticized by feminist scholars because of the male centered ideology (Banarjee et al, 2014).  Instead Modern theorists use his theory in explaining the criminalities of women as empowering (Campbell, 2008). Research has indicated that female criminality is dependent on the masculinity behaviour of females (Banarjee et al, 2014). And according to Harrington and Nee (2005: 3-4) some of the characteristics needed in order to commit crime includes being “tough”, “daring”, and “aggressive”, all of which depict masculinity. Thus Banarjee et al (2014) suggest that females partake in criminal behaviour which they believe signifies masculinity in order to make up for their lack of power. Alder (1975) asserts that because of masculinity empowered women engage in serious violent crime than non-empowered women. Studies have found that females ratify ‘macho’ roles when commiting crime (Campbell, 2008). Campbell (2008) interviewed Zulema who was a female drug lord and one of The Arellano Felix sisters of the Tijuana Cartel in Mexico. The life she lived counters stereotypes of female passivity and the idea that they only hold the position of an accomplice. In order to achieve empowerment and move up in the male dominated drug world she adopted this ‘macho ethical’ behaviour (Campbell, 2008; pp, ).Fagan (1994) affirms that the notion that females take on subordinate roles in gangs no longer applies and this is supported in Taylor’s (1993) work. Taylor’s (1993) study on girl gangs and drugs looks at female offending from a masculine perspective. It focuses on female criminality from a point of view that escaped criminological attention. The focal point of the research is the female population in Detroit who are evidently taking a direct role in the drug trade (Taylor, 1993). Women involved in gangs often viewed their male counterparts as business competitors or “would be exploiters” and there is little kinship between them (Fagan, 1994).  Furthermore in his work Taylor (1993) stressed how women view what they are doing as self empowering.  Women have agency in gangs independent from men and their involvement in gangs occurs as they recognise the need for financial independence, respect and material wealth (Barbra, 1994).  “The fellas making it real large and girls is making it too!” (Taylor, 1993; Pg 19). Taylor (1993) found that women usually partake  in corporate gangs and they see themselves as business entrepreneurs.  They commit crime for financial gains but through criminal actions which they view as empowering (Taylor, 1993; pg, 20). Muraskin (1997; pp, 125) describes this increase involvement in gangs as “a new breed of women criminals”. Infact when questioned, some of the women explained that living a life free of commiting crime is only for “jerks” and “honkies” (Taylor, 1993, pp, 47).  So far this chapter has explained female involvement in crime as source of empowerment in relation to the liberation theory and the masculinity thesis. It will now move into focusing on women’s involvement in the drug trade specifically which has expanded dramatically in recent years. World Drug Report (2014) found that women’s participation in the drug trade is on the rise worldwide. In addition to this two thirds of women in federal prisons are imprisoned for drug-related offense. Many studies of female criminality focus on women in relation to the drug trade (Campaniello, 2014). Campbell (2008) analysed female drug smugglers in relation to gender, crime and empowerment. He conducted interviews and observations of female drug smugglers who worked for the Juarez Cartel. The study goes beyond the stereotypical image of women in the drug trade and looks at the impact of the roles of women as relative victimisation or empowerment (Campbell, 2008). Campbell (2008) explains how despite the fact that drug smuggling leads to female victimisation; it can also be a “vehicle for female empowerment” (pp,) and they can be effective agents of their own independence. Smuggling drugs has enabled these women to live a pleasing lifestyle and away from the control of men. The study shows that the higher the women rise in criminal organisations the greater their chances are to achieve agency and a degree of power (Campbell, 2008). This is seen amongst the female drug lords such as Zulema who indulges in the money, power and independence she gains from smuggling. Hence the empowerment she gains aids her individual interest rather than women in general. Campbell (2008) reflects that this is a confined type of gendered consciousness.Anderson (2005) also takes on a more empowerment orientation narrative in relation to women and crime. His research explores the dimensions of women’s power in the illicit drug economy (Anderson, 2005). He argues that women are central to the drug economy; they can be consumers and customers and they can also provide sustenance and housing to drug using and selling family members. In terms of housing Anderson (2005) states that by providing housing, women  contribute to the drug world while at the same time keeping their family secured in contemporary society. An analysis by Anderson (2005) suggests that this is an example of both empowerment and autonomous agency. This shows power, capital and importance of women’s contribution to the criminal world giving them a sense of identity (thus empowerment). In other words their agency in engaging in criminal behaviour empowers their own future and those dependent on them. Murphy and Arroyo (2000) also explore the power and control women gain as consumers in the illicit drug market. Women’s capability of accumulating and spending money further empowers them in obtaining their goals (Anderson, 2005). This can also aid them in achieving structural market power within the drug market.  Women have purchasing power which introduces new ways of generating income such as sex work (Anderson, 2005). And the survival of the drug market heavily relies on women as sex workers as it maximises profits. Nevertheless, this viewpoint of women engaging in crime such as sex work as a source of empowerment instead of victimisation is usually alien to criminological discourse.In sum, research has indicated that female criminality have moved beyond the status quo of gender repression (Taylor, 1993) (p. 8). Women recognise the need for for financial independence and respect and see crime as a “vehicle for female empowerment (Campbell, 2008). Moving forward, the next chapter will explore  literature in the areas of female criminality and the impact of ethnicity. Studies show that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women are at a “double disadvantage” when is comes to crime and the criminal justice system (Cox and Jones, 2017). Cox and Jones, (2017) assert that this is due to the fact that BAME women are seen as “a minority within a minority”.


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