Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 199 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Steven Messner

Committee Members

Christine Bose, Glenn Deane


Cross-national, Women's offending, Work-family policies, Female offenders, Unemployed women workers, Unemployed, Thieves, Women murderers

Subject Categories

Criminology | Sociology


This dissertation examines women’s offending from a cross-national perspective, using a theoretical lens that integrates insights from feminist and criminological scholarship. The analysis is based on a pooled cross-sectional time-series design, assessing data from 32 European countries for five time points between 1995 and 2010. The purpose of the dissertation is to determine how the effects of work-family and gender indicators are moderated by women’s labor force participation when it comes to predicting women’s theft and homicide. Inclusion of men’s offending helps discern the extent to which the effects of the predictors are specific to the illegitimate behaviors of women, or criminality as a general phenomenon. The results show that the effect of women’s unemployment on the rate of women suspected of theft varies notably depending on the degree women are embedded in the paid labor market. The effect of women’s unemployment is negative at low levels of women’s labor force participation, and is positive at high levels of women’s labor force participation. Additional findings show that increases in gender inequality reduce the rate of women suspected of theft. Further, former Soviet nations have less women suspected of theft than non-Soviet nations. In contrast, former Soviet nations have considerably more men suspected of theft than non-Soviet nations. The findings for homicide show that when men’s homicide is not held constant, the effect of gender inequality on the rate of women suspected of homicide is positive at low levels of women’s labor force participation and negative at high levels, and the same is true for men’s homicide when women’s homicide is not held constant. As anticipated by cross-national criminological literature, the change in the rate of men and women suspected of homicide follows a similar trend over time. Cumulatively, these findings underscore the importance of considering the interrelationships between gendered work and family processes as they pertain to women’s and men’s offending in a global context.

Included in

Criminology Commons