Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2019


This paper examines the role of gender in three high profile criminal cases involving women. Each case highlights different circumstances of women involved in crime and the consequences of a justice system that does not acknowledge and address the role of gender in women’s criminal involvement. First, Cyntoia Brown’s case demonstrates the challenges specific to poor girls of color. Second, the case of Yeardley Love delineates the danger women face in their relationships with male intimate partners. Finally, the highly controversial case of Casey Anthony illustrates the societal pressure on women as mothers and the need to address potential biases both toward and against women. These three women had different roles in the criminal justice system and each trial resulted in verdicts causing public backlash for different reasons. Through researching and analyzing the details of each case and relevant gender theories, the importance of accounting for the role of gender in legal proceedings and policies is clear. Without proper investigation of gender’s role in criminal behavior, the law is uninformed and unable to deliver justice.