Until recently, research on the roles of females in gangs has been minimal because violence and gang membership have historically been thought to be male-dominated phenomena. This paper addresses the knowledge gap by focusing specifically on females and the unique factors contributing to their gang involvement.

As part of a project by the JPRC in partnership with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), the paper presents a systematic review of research on factors that “push” or “pull” females toward gang involvement. The factors identified by the research include peer and family environment, victimization, neighborhood and school influences, and sex trafficking involvement.

The paper helps school staff and administrators consider prevention strategies to dissuade all students from future gang involvement. Given the overlap between various forms of prior sexual abuse and female gang involvement, close coordination between program developers, implementation staff, and community providers who support victims of sexual crimes may be important to best support victims and deter them from future gang involvement.

Additionally, community prevention strategies should consider a strong collaboration with schools to identify and intervene with current gang members and prevent younger siblings from future involvement. The findings also suggest a need for further research on gender-specific interventions to prevent female gang involvement.

Read More