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Gender and Crime - Crime and Deviance
Terms in this set (29)
Patterns and Trends
1. 4/5 convicted offenders in England and Wales are Male
2. By age 40, 9% of females have a criminal conviction compared to 32% of men
3. Males have a higher conviction rate for property offences, violence and sexual offences
4. Males are more likely to be repeat offenders and have longer criminal convictions - Men are 15 times for likely to be convicted of homicide.
Explanations for Gender Differences in Crime
1. The Chivalry Thesis
2. Bias Against Women
3. Sex Role Theory
4. Control Theory
5. Female Deviance and Moral Panic
6. Liberation Theory
7. Assertion of Masculinity
8. Labelling Theory
The Chivalry Thesis
The criminal justice agents e.g. police, magistrates and judges are made up of men.
Men are socialised to act in a 'chivalrous' way towards women.
Pollack (1950) - Evidence to Support The Chivalry Thesis
1. Men have protective attitudes towards women
2. The criminal justice system is more lenient with women and thus their crimes are less likely to end up in official statistics.
Graham and Bowling (1995) - Evidence to Support The Chivalry Thesis
Men are 2 times more likely to admit to having committed an offence but official statistics suggest men are 4 times more likely to offend.
11 female self-reported offenders had been cautioned/ prosecuted but over 1 in 7 men had.
Hood (1993) - Evidence to Support The Chivalry Thesis
Found that women were 1/3 less likely to be jailed.
Official Statistics - Evidence to Support The Chivalry Thesis
1. Females are more likely to be released on bail and not remanded in custody.
2. Females are more likely to receive a fine or community sentence and less likely to be sent to prison - if sent to prison their sentences are likely to be shorter.
3. 1 in 9 female offenders receive prison sentences for shoplifting but 1 in 5 man do.
Farrington and Morris (1983) - Evidence Against The Chivalry Thesis
Women were not sentenced more leniently for comparable offences.
Box (1981) - Evidence Against The Chivalry Thesis
Women who commit serious offences are not treated more favourably than men.
Self Report Studies - Evidence Against The Chivalry Thesis
Males more likely to have been offenders in serious offence categories and the gender gap increases as offences become more serious.
Under Reporting of Male crimes against Women - Evidence Against The Chivalry Thesis
2012 - only 8% of females who had been victims of serious sexual assaults reported it to the police.
A women typically suffers 35 assaults before reporting domestic violence.
Under Reporting of crimes of the Powerful - Evidence Against The Chivalry Thesis
More likely to be committed by men because of their privileged position in the job market.
Heidensohn (1996) - Bias Against Women
The courts treat females more harshly than males when they deviate from gender norms - women are seen as 'doubly deviant' by the criminal justice system.
Double Standards - Bias Against Women
Courts punish girls but not boys for premature or promiscuous sexual activity.
'Wayward' girls can end up in care without ever having committed an offence
Sharpe (2009) - Bias Against Women
Analysed 55 youth worker cases:
7 out of 11 girls were referred for support because they were sexually active but none out of 44 boys.
Stewart (2006) - Bias Against Women
Found magistrates' perceptions of female defendants' characters were based on stereotypical gender norms.
Women who don't conform to accepted standards of monogamy, heterosexually and motherhood are more harshly punished.
Carlen (1997) - Bias Against Women
1. When women are jailed it is more according to the court's assessment of them as wives mothers and daughters'
2. Girls whose parents believe them to be beyond control are more likely to receive custodial sentences than girls who live more 'conventional' lives.
3. Scottish judges were more likely to jail women whose children were in care than women who they saw as good mothers.
Example of Bias Against Women
2017 - Oxford Student Lavinia Woodward stabbed her boyfriend however only received a suspended prison sentence.
Judge believed that a jail term could damage her prospects of a medical career and would be too severe as a result.
Walklate (1988) - Bias Against Women
In rape cases it is not the defendant who is on trial but the victim, since she has to prove her respectability in order to have her evidence accepted.
Adler (1987) - Bias Against Women
Women who are deemed to lack respectability such as single parents, punks and peace protesters find it difficult to have their testimony believed in court.
A result of increasing roles of women in contemporary society
Lombroso and Ferro (1893) - First Explanations of Gender Differences in Crime
Criminality is innate, but that there were very few 'born female criminals'. Some more recent psychological explanations have also argued that biological factors such as higher levels of testosterone in males account for gender differences in violent offending.
Explanations for Female Crime
1. Sex role theory
2. Control theory
3. Liberation thesis
4. Moral Panic
Sex Role Theory - Functionalist
As a result of gendered socialisation, the "normal" masculinity is more open to criminality than "normal" femininity
Parsons (1955) - Sex Role Theory
To distance themselves from the female 'expressive roles', men engage in 'compensatory compulsory masculinity' through aggression and anti-social behaviour which can slip over into acts of deviance.
Cohen (1955) - Sex Role Theory
Because men have less of a socialisation role in the nuclear family, socialisation can be more difficult for boys than girls.
The lack of an adult male role model means boys are more likely to turn to all-male street gangs as a source of masculine identity.
In these subcultural groups, status is earned by acts of toughness, risk taking and delinquency - solution for 'status frustration
The New Right - Sex Role Theory
The absence of male role models in matrifocal lone parent families leads to boys turning to criminal street gangs as a source of status and identity.
Walklate (2003) - Criticism of Sex Role Theory
Makes biological assumptions - 'Parsons assumes that because women have a biological capacity to bear children, they are best suited to the expressive role.'
Control Theory - Feminism (Radical, Liberal, Marxist)
Control imposed from patriarchal society gives women fewer opportunities to offend
Heidensohn (1989) - Control Theory
Conformist female behaviour - they commit fewer and less serious crimes than men.
This is because patriarchal society imposes greater control over women and this reduces their opportunities to offend.
This patriarchal control operates in the home, in public spaces and at work.
Girls who commit crime are 'doubly deviant'
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