The debate on women and crime has been dominated by two paradigms during the last decades: The "power-paradigm" predicted a steep rise of female crime rates as a result of the thorough change of gender roles in this period, while the "victim paradigm" directed attention to rising rates of alcohol and drug addiction as well as mental health problems and suicides among women. Both paradigms have been linked by the proposition that the low involvement of women in crime was compensated by their higher rates of all types of passive problem behavior like depression or addiction. In this study, which covers the period from 1965 to 1990, both paradigms are examined by analysing female and male crime rates, as well as respective rates of alcohol and drug addiction, mental disorders, and suicides for all of Germany (before reunification), an urban metropolitan region and a rural state in the North of Germany. The results clearly show that both paradigms were wrong in exaggerating a negative impact of the process of ema ncipation. Until the early 1980s, female crime rates as well as proportions of other types of problem behavior only slightly gained compared to men, but since 1985 this trend has levelled off and has been inverted, most visible for crime rates. In contrast to both paradigms, these results show that women profited enormously in terms of mental health and other problem behaviors from the opportunities opening up in the process of emancipation. They clearly lend more support to two more recent theories, the "power-control" theory by Hagan and the "control-balance" theory by Tittle that both stress potential gains for women.
"Power-Women" and Victim Paradigm: New and Old Myths on Female Criminality and Emancipation
Both women's movements during the last hundred years were accompanied by the same fear: that the emancipation of women, their entry into the domains of men and the subsequent adoption of male behaviour would inevitably have very negative effects on female morals and on the moral state of society in general. The further emancipation progressed, the more women would be plagued by alcoholism, suicide, psychological disorders, and, most of all, criminality. This was the common conviction among intellectuals, scientists, and politicians. The mostly male advocates of this perspective did not seem to realize that such claims painted a particularly bleak picture of their own gender and men's faults. The "new social problem of female criminality" was repeatedly discovered by Lombroso and Ferrero (1894), Thomas ( 1967), and--finally, for the first time by a woman--Adler (1975).  Adler saw the dark side of the women's movement in the increase of violent and aggressive crimes committed by women as well as in mo unting rates of economic crimes in which she had perceived an over-proportional increase in female criminals. For an American police chief, the women's movement of the 1960s had triggered the "greatest crime wave" the world had ever seen (Weis, 1976), and pessimistic prognoses predicted equal crime rates for men and women by the year 2000 at the latest (see Smart, 1979; D.J. Steffensmeier, 1978, 1980; Simon, 1975). As many other predictions about the turn of the millenium, this one definitely did not come true.
What was actually triggered first of all was a flood of empirical studies with contradictory findings. Adler's critics focused initially on four points: (a) the databases and measurements underlying her hypothesis;  (b) the "masculinity hypothesis" that the adoption of either male or feministic role orientations would lead to a general increase in female crime as well as an increase in specific crimes (James and Thornton, 1980; Loy and Norland, 1981; Shover et al., 1979); (c) the "participation hypothesis" that the general increase in participation of women in public life, their "stepping out of the domestic circle"--as the German Socialist leader August Bebel had termed it in 1892--and their increased occupational activity would open up the entire range of opportunities for criminal activity to women that had previously been available to men only; this hypothesis was based fundamentally on the equalization of opportunity structures (see Datesman et al., 1975; Hoigard, 1990); finally (d) the "chivalry hyp othesis," that women who had previously profited from the chivalry of men in the organizations of judicial control would now gain the same status as men as a result of balancing out gender roles and the increase in female personnel in these institutions; consequently, they would increasingly show up in criminal statistics, so that, in fact, only the field of undetected female crime was better controlled without there being any actual increase in their previously undetected criminality.  Adler's image of future female criminality did neither fit the contemporary facts of female nor male criminality. She imagined "power-women" robbing banks just as coldbloodedly and frequently as engaging in economic crime in grand style: crimes and criminals that are also rather rare in the male criminal population.
Adler's proposition of a general masculinization of female criminality evoked a rapid formation of opposition in the women's movement and particularly among feminist criminologists who saw women mostly as victims of male justice. The earliest conceptualization of this "victim paradigm" by Klein and Kress (1976) already included all the crucial points that were to define future arguments. The increase of participation and employment--disregarding the fact that this concerned mostly the middle classes in better paid jobs--exposes women, who traditionally hold worse jobs, to the fluctuation of the labor market and subjects them to economic pressure. Increasing criminality--particularly property crimes--is not a result of increased economic participation but of an economically weaker position. However, the focus of the argument is that women are victims of the justice system. It provides them with insufficient protection from violence, sexual harassment, and rape (e.g., in marriage). As criminals, they are victi ms of a legislation that still incriminates prostitution in some countries.  As adolescents, they are victims of rigid legal controls through the definition of status offenses  that mostly concern sexual behavior. These adolescent girls in no way receive "chivalrous" treatment but are generally treated more harshly than boys.  If sentenced to prison, women are incarcerated not only in badly equipped prisons, most without training and rehabilitation facilities, but additionally lose custody of their children.
Finally, in a patriarchal system of social controls, they are subjected more frequently to psychiatric and medical controls that are far less constrained by legal guarantees than the criminal justice system. Here, Klein and Kress (1976) link up with the popular hypothesis that women compensate for their lower involvement in crime by other forms of deviant behavior such as psychological disorders, psychosomatic complaints, prescription drug abuse, drug addiction, and increasing alcohol consumption. "Suffering and self-destructive tendencies" (Killias, 1991, p. 227) characterize the "antisocial" behavior of women.
The victim paradigm in all its facets is just as old as Adler's prognosis on the dark side of the women's movement, and both paradigms are anchored firmly in the emerging myths about female criminality (Anderson, 1976; Schlossmann and Wallach, 1982). Both are based on a very one-dimensional and static model of gender roles. Even if we disregard the fact that orientations toward masculine or feministic values on the individual level have hardly any impact on delinquent behavior--in contrast, both orientations correlate with a lower level of juvenile delinquency among girls (see James and Thornton, 1980; Loy and Norland, 1981; Shover et al., 1979)--Adler's postulated relationship between emancipation and "masculinity" is still highly questionable. In the age of the service sector, computers, and telecommunication, it seems to be specifically female values and role patterns that are required on the labor market. In contrast, physical strength and labor have suffered a major devaluation, which particularly affec ts younger, poorly educated men (Mauger, 1991). In fact, as in other industrialized countries, women in the ERG have made particularly strong advances in service sector professions, and, to some extent, they have shifted from "old" to "new" female professions (see Handl, 1991; Wagner, 1984). It is rather unlikely that such an increasing occupational segregation of both genders that this implies (Handl, 1986) should lead to a masculinization of women's value orientations  International studies refute the notion of a distinct relationship between female employment and a modem or traditional attitude toward gender roles (Hollinger, 1991). In addition, the argument gives no consideration to the possible effects of emancipation on male role images and male role understandings (see Segal, 1990; Stacey, 1991).
Motor traffic violations, which are excluded systematically in all studies of Adler's hypothesis, provide a perfect example of female crime trends under conditions of an almost complete integration of women into a realm that is dominated by technical and masculine norms and values. Several studies show that almost equal participation may well be accompanied by the retention of gender-specific value orientations, and as a result, motor traffic violations among women (related to exposure to risk in terms of mileage) are clearly less frequent than among men. Motor traffic violations reproduce the typical gender-specific distributions of "normal criminality": Women are less frequently recidivists and are particularly strongly underrepresented in the field of speed violations and driving under the influence, two offenses that are mostly dominated by male norms and behavior patterns (Karstedt-Henke, 1989; Kretschmer-Baumel and Karstedt-Henke, 1986).
Women's participation in employment and public life in no way takes the course of a continuous acquisition of new fields of social action and thus opportunities for criminal activities.  It is particularly married women in the ERG and other Western industrialized countries who have made a major increase in their employment quota (Hollinger, 1989; Wagner, 1984). Though the new occupations are mainly in the lower positions of the hierarchy of the service and administrative sector, they simultaneously offer women chances of promotion. In view of the increasing and major investment in education and professional training and the general increase in income, it is very questionable whether this has increased incentives for criminal behavior among women.  In addition, female criminality is restricted essentially to thefts and, in turn, to shoplifting that is related more closely to domestic activity than work activity. Since the time available for domestic activities for working wives and mothers has been red uced, it is unlikely that they have been responsible for an increase in these typically female crimes. As a consequence, the increasing employment of married women has had no effect on the general rate of female property crimes. The non-significant, negative effect suggests that this group, who made the major contribution to the increase in female employment, is in no way responsible for increasing female criminality. It seems to be less participation in the labor market but far more the lower work intensity of domestic activity that has led to an increase in the female crime rate: When fewer preschool-age children require home care, there is a clear increase in the rate of property crimes.  Therefore, neither theoretical nor empirical foundations are given for an increase in female criminality as a consequence of a general process of emancipation. The hypothesis of the "dark side of emancipation" in no way accounts for the complex process of change in female roles and relationships between genders in mod ern societies, and can therefore definitely be classified as one of the "myths" on female criminality.
The exaggeration of the potential effects of female emancipation on crime rates has been accompanied by very little recognition within the framework of the victim paradigm of changes that decisively altered judicial control over women--and not just to their disadvantage. In all industrialized Western countries, there has been a decriminalization of sexual offenses over the past hundred years that has essentially favored women. While in 1960, 61.3 percent of all female criminals in Norway were still convicted for sexual offenses, the proportion was only 0.6 percent in 1987,  so that formal controls on female sexual behavior are now mostly restricted to adolescents.  The norms of modem criminal law--and, for example, also motor traffic law--incriminate to a great extent those types of aggressive and antisocial behaviors that are mostly part of the male role set.  New laws address economic and environmental crime …