Cross-national differences in female offending and criminal justice processing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to assess whether four key theoretical perspectives on female criminality—emancipation, economic marginalisation, net-widening, and modernisation—explain female representation in the criminal justice system equally well for both developed and developing countries and to assess whether the same factors that can explain women’s levels of criminal offending can also explain their representation in subsequent stages of criminal justice processing. Analyzing pooled data for 37 highly developed and 38 less developed countries from 2003 to 2013, the results provide support for modernisation, emancipation, and net-widening theories, but not for economic marginalisation theory. Emancipation and net-widening theories have more explanatory power for more developed countries than less and they can explain women’s representation at different levels of criminal justice processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-239
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University.


  • Female offending
  • criminal justice processing
  • criminological theories
  • cross-national research
  • discretion
  • economic development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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