Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Sucessfully submitted for the award of Masters in Criminology to the Technological University Dublin, 2009.


Reductionistic definitions characterise many of the representations of women in our society. From superficial depictions of women as sex objects to the elevation of motherhood as a paragon of womanhood, women navigate myriad roles available to them exclusively because of their gender. Female offenders are potentially more vulnerable to such limitations of representation due to their relative invisibility. Society is largely unacquainted with the realities of circumstance for such women, who are therefore reliant upon media outlets to inform the public. The operation of this process in Ireland has not been the subject of extensive research, and the current study attempts to address this. Through a content analysis of the output of four newspapers over a one-month period, the representation of female offenders in Irish newspapers was found to be similarly reliant on familiar narratives. Female offenders were consistently represented in terms of their gender; the themes which emerged were broadly compatible with the various aspects of femininity as it is socially constructed and understood.