Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Sex Composition in Gangs: A systematic review Public Deposited

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  • The presence of women and girls in gangs has been heavily debated since the onset of recognition of their roles outside of associative and sexual capacities. Despite the subsequent centering of female gang members in research as a result of feminist waves of scholarship, information pertaining to just how many female gang members there are is extremely varied. Official records tend to underestimate their numbers more than self-nomination data, but studies that track self-nomination data are also disparate. I conducted a systematic review on 122 publications about gangs in order to track within-gang female composition, the proportion of females and males that are gang members in comparison to reference groups, and the relative risk of gang membership by sex. Consistent with trends found previously by individual studies, females, on average, had a lower risk of being a gang member as compared to men– within-gang female composition and sex proportions supported this. While official report type data reported lower female composition and proportions across the board, the difference was not significant. The age of gang members by sex varied, though female composition, proportion, and relative risk were higher at earlier ages (11-12) than at later ages (18+). While further meta-analysis should be pursued, these results suggest that while females have a lower risk of being a gang member than males, this gang membership seems to correlate with lower ages and should be explored further.

Date Awarded
  • 2023-04-13
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Last Modified
  • 2023-04-21
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