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“Reading the Riots” UK study reveals that 21% of rioters were women

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Summary of story from The Guardian, November 9, 2011

Data from the UK “Reading the Riots” study has shown that of the 270 interviews conducted with participants involved in the August riots, 21% were women.

The interviews with 56 women identified complex reasons for their involvement – some were there to loot and exploit the lawlessness, while others claimed that their mistrust of police was their reason for being caught up in the protest.

Women of all ages took part in the disorder, with the youngest revealed to be a girl of 11 from Nottinghamshire who was charged with criminal damage.

One woman also reported talking to a mother and daughter who were on their way together to steal from a department store.

In addition, the study looked at the differences in the way that women looted in comparison with men, with women often stealing lower value goods and the spoils others had left behind.

The interviews revealed the types of goods they went for, such as beauty products, clothes, and baby items.

Many of the women emphasised that they had not led the assaults on the businesses, and that they stood back and waited for them to be broken into before making their move.

In the aftermath,  the women and girls questioned were more willing than then men to admit that they had been scared during the riots.

Furthermore, only 27% of the girls and women said they would take part if it happened again, compared with 37% of men and boys.

Many of the women interviewed felt on reflection that their actions were wrong and they expressed regret over what they had done to their local communities.

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