Gangs are viewed as an unsupervised group of youth that defines itself as a gang and develops its own norms and criteria for membership. Gang members are more responsive to peer socialization than to conventional agents of socialization, and the gang may become quasi - institutionalized (it may develop the capacity for self perpetuation). This definition excludes hate groups, motorcycle gangs, and other exclusively adult gangs. This term refers to gangs containing only female members: some of these gangs are autonomous and some are affiliated with male gangs. The term also refers to gangs that are controlled and dominated by females but that may include male members. The term female gang members refers both to individuals who are members of female gangs and to those who are members of gender - integrated gangs. .
Much of the research on gangs has ignored females or trivialized female gangs. The message of these studies was that female gangs were not important. Given the lack of research, much of what has been written about female gangs and then reproduced in textbooks has been based on the reports of journalists and social workers and on the statements of male gang members. This paper considers the underlying reasons for female gang embers, examines how ethnicity and gender norms may influence female gang behavior, and discusses the long-term consequences of gang membership for females. .
Gangs are studied because they are of social concern. That concern stems from typically masculine acts of vandalism, violence, and other serious threats. It was often assumed that females did not take part in such behavior, so early researchers were not interested in the delinquency of female gang members. Researchers and journalist saw gangs as a quintessentially male phenomenon. Thus, most early reports focused on whether female gangs were real gangs or merely shadows of male groups. One review concluded that in these earlier studies, girls were defined solely in terms of their relations to male gang members (Cambell, 1990, p.