Women Gangsters of the 20’s and 30’s

At the heart of every woman there is a gangster waiting to be born.

The Roaring Twenties and the Dirty Thirties were a time of great change and social upheaval, and women were at the forefront of this transformation. While the traditional roles of women were still very much in place during this time, many women began to challenge these norms and assert their independence – sometimes in not-so-legitimate ways. This was especially true in the world of organized crime, where a number of female gangsters made their mark.


Bonnie Elizabeth Parker


One of the most famous female gangsters of this era was Bonnie Parker, who, along with her partner Clyde Barrow, terrorized the central United States during the Great Depression. Bonnie and Clyde were known for their daring bank robberies and escapes from law enforcement. Their legend only grew after their deaths in a hail of bullets in 1934.


Virginia Hill

Then there’s Virginia Hill. A notorious female gangster and associate of the American Mafia in the 30’s. Best known for her association with Bugsy Siegel (a high-ranking member of the Mafia who oversaw the development of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas), Hill was rumored to have been involved in various illegal activities, including drug trafficking and money laundering. She was known for her lavish lifestyle, extravagant spending habits, and had a reputation as a tough, dangerous woman. She was eventually arrested and convicted on charges of tax evasion. She died under mysterious circumstances in 1966 from an apparently suspicious suicide.


More you say? Stephanie St. Clair, also known as Madame Queen, was a Guadalupe West Indie-born American gangster who operated in New York City in the early 20th century. St. Clair ran the Harlem numbers racket, which was a gambling/investing operation that made millions of dollars in profits each year. Despite facing numerous threats and attempts on her life, St. Clair was able to maintain her power and control over the numbers racket for over two decades – keeping it out of the hands of the mafia and the police. She was known for her intelligence, business acumen, and fierce determination – and love of expensive jewelry. Despite her criminal activities, St. Clair was also involved in various philanthropic endeavors and was known for her generosity to the people of Harlem. She died in1969, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most successful and feared female gangsters in American history.

While women have often been relegated to supporting roles in organized crime, the female gangsters of the 20s and 30s proved that they are more than capable of being just as ruthless and successful as their male counterparts. Whether working alongside male gangsters or taking the lead themselves, these women made their mark on the criminal underworld.