In the late 1960s and early 1970s, researchers began to notice a general disregard in the study of crime. As a result, the field of feminist criminology was born. Feminist criminology came about during Second Wave Feminism, which sought to broaden debate on a wider range of issues, as opposed to the focus on suffrage that occupied First Wave Feminism. Feminist criminology largely seeks to explain violent crime as a result of aggressive masculinity and inequality in society.
Criminology, at its heart, is the study of crime and criminal justice. Traditionally, women were not the focus of criminal study, as women were not expected to be criminals or commit crime, and those that did were often considered to be mentally deficient. Feminist criminology examines how the experiences of women, in terms of politics, economics, and the social system can be used to achieve greater equality.
Many of those who study feminist criminology argue that traditional texts neglect how women are victimized. Some facts that support feminist notions in criminology are that three out of four women will be the victim of violent crime during their lifetime, that violence is the leading cause of injuries to women between the ages of 15 and 44, and that half of all homeless women are fleeing domestic abuse. Such facts would not be ignored by society were the patriarchal system were not tolerant of female exploitation.