This bulletin summarizes research on female gangs and draws attention to programmatic and research needs.
The bulletin considers the underlying reasons for female gang membership, assesses the delinquency and criminal activity of female gang members, examines how ethnicity and gender norms may influence female gang behavior, and discusses the long-term consequences of gang membership for females. It concludes with proposals for future research. The major sources of information about female gang members’ criminality and delinquency are law enforcement agency reports, surveys of at-risk youth, and field studies. In general, female gang members commit fewer violent crimes than male gang members, tending toward property crimes and status offenses. However, drug offenses are among the most common offenses committed by female gang members. Law enforcement records document but do not explain the high rates of drug arrests for female gang members. The bulletin suggests future research on female gang formation, reasons for joining gangs, ethnicity, gender roles in gangs, delinquency and criminality, and later-life consequences of female gang membership. Resources, notes, references
Date Published: March 1, 2001