Scienitific explanations of women's crime have often been dependent on dominant etiological systems of men's crime. The observed increased growth and the sort of crime committed by young girls and women, as well as the occurrence of young-female gangs, cause scholars to search for a reliable theory which would indicate why women are inclined to commit crime. The paper analyses the theories about women's crime that are predominant in world's literature. The author first concentrates on the early bio-psychological theories, which where the first in trying to explain the criminal behavior of women. Then the 'gender roles' and 'emancipation' theories are discussed, which help to show the historical outline. Currently, the 'power-control' theory - by John Hagan and his team, which tries to adapt the 'control' theory, plays a big role in explaining women's crime. Worthy of attention is the application of Robert Agnew's 'strain' theory to the issue. Also feminist criminology had a contribution in trying to explain the crime problem. It concentrated on the different evolvements of criminal behavior arising from the differences in gender. By focusing on the environment in which girls and women live in, particularly their victimization, it is expected that the causes of crime will be better understood. In Poland the problem of women's crime is underrepresented. The author expresses his hope, that this study will arouse interest in the matter and will also be of help in improving the 'prevention/re-socializing' methods for potential or current women offenders.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.