Barbara Fornaca
April 29, 2002
Sociology 301.03
Introduction to Social Research
Dr. Roland Werner




Barbara Fornaca
San Diego State University



Key Words: ethnic groups, young women, family relationships in gangs, life in the gang, abuse, drugs and violence in gangs, children raised in gangs, alternatives to gang life and leaving the gang

Abstract: Young women joining street gangs have become a problem in our society. It affects families, the community and the school system. It can also affect you, your family and your community. Research shows that there is an alarming share of violent crimes, especially homicides committed by gang members. I will be focusing on Latino women in street gangs and Latino women with children in street gangs. An increasing number of women are becoming affiliated with gang organizations. These women are entering street gangs at a much younger age. New generations of children are born into the gang and are reared in street gangs and eventually become adolescent and adult members of these gangs. Some gangs now include third or fourth generations. They will be at risk of repeating the same cycle that their parents have created for them. Drugs, weapons, violence and eventually death surround these young women and their children. They are witnesses to numerous killings and injuries. These women in gangs are at great risk and so is society. Research has found that factors contributing to women entering gangs are dysfunctional family life, alcohol and drug abuse, low self esteem, need for power, status and economic needs. These women feel that their needs are met in the gang opposed to their own family home. One of the primary reasons that women join these gangs is the need for a family and to be listened to, loved and cared about.

Copyright 2004 by Social Systems Simulation Group and Barbara Fornaca. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or author.


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