The liberation thesis
· Adler argues that, as women become liberated from patriarchy, their crimes will become as frequent and serious as men's. Adler argues that changes in the structure of society has lead to changes in women's offending behaviour, e.g. through greater opportunities in education because of a lack of patriarchal control.
· As a result, women now commit typically 'male' offences such as white collar crimes. This because of women's greater self confidence and assertiveness, and the fact that they now have greater opportunities in the legitimate structure.
Criticisms of the liberation thesis
The female crime rate began in the 1950s- long before the women's liberation movement, which emerged in the late 1960s.
Most female criminals are working class- the group least likely to be influenced by women's liberation, which has benefited middle class women more.
There is little evidence that the illegitimate opportunity structure of professional crime has opened up to women.
However, Adler's thesis does draw attention to the importance of investigating the relationship changes in women's position and changes in patterns of female offending.
However, it can be argued that she overestimates both the extent to which women have become liberated and the extent to which they are now able to engage in serious crime.