William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


The death penalty in America has been studied, discussed, and written about extensively. The vast majority of researchers, however, have focused their study of the death penalty, or capital punishment, on male prisoners. This article examines the data related to women on death row since 1973, with particular attention to similar problems that have been documented for men, while highlighting racial differences and/or racial disparities where found. The subjects were 157 women who received death row sentences, forty-nine women currently on death row, and the eleven women executed since 1973. The data demonstrated that some racial disparities do exist with regard to women receiving death row sentences. However, definitive conclusions explaining why these differences exist are speculative due to the relatively small number of females receiving the death penalty.