Currently, there are approximately 138,000 incarcerated females in the United States and this number is three times that the number that was reported in a few decades ago. Despite its lower number than that reported among male offenders, the rate of increase in the number of female offenders has grown more than 10% every year since 1985 (Mumola and Beck, 1997). This rate is much higher than the rate of increase reported for male offenders, which is only 8% every year since 1985.
It has been determined that female offenders are put in jail for non-violent offenses and the prime violations that they commit are associated with the distribution and possession of prohibited drugs. This mode of unlawful behavior has been reported to be related to gender and analysts have described that female offenders commit these crimes in order to earn money for them to survive. It has been estimated that approximately 1. 3 billion individuals who are living in extreme need are women (UNDP, 2000).
Such condition is strongly related to their inability to receive any form of education as well as training courses hence rendering them under-qualified for most of the available employment. Simultaneously, the trends of globalization and alteration in governmental laws have resulted in more problems for women because gender inequalities were exposed. One example can be observed among governments that do not provide unemployment insurance of single mothers or female heads of households.
The merged effect of gender and racial discrimination may also hinder the retrieval of women to economic resources, including loans, credit and real estate property and can also affect the treatment they receive when they request for social services from the government. Such hardship thus endangers women to poverty and financial hardship. It has been discovered that the global literacy rate for women is significantly lower than that among men. The discrepancy in literacy rate between men and women is even greater in developing countries.
More than half of out-of-school children are girls and that among illiterate adults, two-thirds are comprised by women. These gender-based illiteracy reports show that females have less access to educational resources which in turn results in a lower rate of participation in training programs. Such decrease in education restrains females in their full understanding and awareness of their legal rights, including the right to be employed and to own real estate properties.
The access of females to education through attendance in school is also affected by circumstances of early pregnancy, childrearing and domestic family responsibilities. The lack or insufficiency of knowledge on reproductive health among women due to poor access to educational resources further hampers the living conditions of women. It is well-known that education is strongly correlated with employment options and financial stability, hence women are at a disadvantage with regards to availing such opportunities.