The Role of Gender in Serious and Organised/Transnational Crime

30th March 2021
Author: Jacqueline Hicks

This rapid review synthesises evidence on the role of gender in serious and organised/transnational crime (SOC) with regard to gender norms, participation and prevention. It looks at the literature on the roles women play in organised crime groups and their pathways to participation, the impact of cultural gender norms in different forms of participation for men and women in SOC, and the role of gender dynamics within families or communities in preventing SOC. Key Overall Findings linking gender norms, female participation and prevention of SOC: 1). Gender norms and women’s participation in SOC are varied and highly contextual, highlighting the importance of gender analysis to programming; 2). Gendered perceptions of men as perpetrators and women as victims in SOC undermine effective responses; and 3). Some types of masculine identity have been linked to involvement in violent crime and societal tolerance of organised crime groups. In Italy, some feminists characterise opposition to SOC as an anti-patriarchal struggle.

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Suggested Citation

Hicks, J. (2021). The role of gender in serious and organised/transnational crime. K4D Helpdesk Report 984. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.059


30th March 2021


Continent: Global