All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Heith Copes

Advisory Committee Members

Kent R Kerley

Andrew Hochstetler

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) College of Arts and Sciences


Researchers of women in the drug economy have been divided, with some portraying women involved in drug manufacturing, dealing, and trafficking as limited participants, and others acknowledging women’s use of agency and gender to successfully accomplish higher roles in drug economies. Additionally, some suggest that the context of the local community and drug market has a strong influence on the roles women occupy within the drug economy. In this study, I examine women’s roles within a particular style of meth cooking (shake and bake) to determine the various opportunities and constraints they face as women meth cooks. To do so, I rely on interviews with 40 women who were former methamphetamine cooks. These women describe shake and bake cooking as simple, loosely structured, fragmented, fluid, and non-hierarchical with low systemic violence. These factors act in concert to increase opportunities for women meth cooks. While the pathways into meth cooking have opened, the respect of the position has decreased. Women also still experience gendered limitations, and whether or not the women overcame these gendered limitations to become primary meth cooks was highly contingent upon their use of agency. This study has implications for the way we understand context, gender, and agency amongst women in drug economies.