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Gender and Crime. QUESTION 1; why is it that statistically, there are more male criminals than female?

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Presentation on theme: "Gender and Crime. QUESTION 1; why is it that statistically, there are more male criminals than female?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender and Crime

2 QUESTION 1; why is it that statistically, there are more male criminals than female?

3 BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS Before the emergence of the feminist perspective, women were largely invisible in sociological research. Before the emergence of the feminist perspective, women were largely invisible in sociological research. When they were considered, the analysis tended to see female crime as a special case which resulted from characteristics linked to biology. When they were considered, the analysis tended to see female crime as a special case which resulted from characteristics linked to biology.

4 Biological Theories Lombrosso and Ferrero (1895) stated that biology tends to prevent women from becoming criminals. Lombrosso and Ferrero (1895) stated that biology tends to prevent women from becoming criminals. Although women do have a deficient moral code, this is neutralised by natural feminine characteristics. Although women do have a deficient moral code, this is neutralised by natural feminine characteristics. These include piety, maternity, sexual coldness and an underdeveloped intelligence. These include piety, maternity, sexual coldness and an underdeveloped intelligence.

5 Pollak (1950) & Moir & Jessel (1997) Pollak argued that due to female biology women were good at hiding crimes Women have learnt to lie to men, hiding pain and discomfort during periods and fake interest and pleasure during sex Moir & Jessel’s more recent research supports the biological argument as they found that a large percentage of women get away with charges of violent crime due to PMS

6 Sex – Role theory Talcott Parsons (1937) stated that because child rearing is done by mothers, girls have a clear role model. Talcott Parsons (1937) stated that because child rearing is done by mothers, girls have a clear role model. They are likely to follow in their mother’s footsteps and less likely to turn to crime. They are likely to follow in their mother’s footsteps and less likely to turn to crime. Heidensohn (1996) states that informal social control discourages women from straying from “decent” behaviour. Heidensohn (1996) states that informal social control discourages women from straying from “decent” behaviour. Females are controlled by their given role as mother and wife and as they are bound to the home environment they rarely have the opportunity to leave the home and commit crime Females are controlled by their given role as mother and wife and as they are bound to the home environment they rarely have the opportunity to leave the home and commit crime

7 Chivalry Thesis Graham (1992) & Bowling (1995) This is the concept that women are let off lightly by the criminal justice system This is the concept that women are let off lightly by the criminal justice system Research based on self-report studies revealed that gender differences in criminal behaviour were not as great as the differences in statistics Research based on self-report studies revealed that gender differences in criminal behaviour were not as great as the differences in statistics 55% of males and 31% of females admitted to committing offences. 55% of males and 31% of females admitted to committing offences. Similar results were found within the Youth Lifestyle Survey (1998-9) Similar results were found within the Youth Lifestyle Survey (1998-9) 11% of females admitted to offending compared to 26% of males 11% of females admitted to offending compared to 26% of males These figures suggest that some difference in the likelihood of being convicted between the genders These figures suggest that some difference in the likelihood of being convicted between the genders

8 Chivalry Thesis Ann Campbell (1981) stated that female suspects were more likely than males to be cautioned rather than prosecuted Hilary Allen (1989) stated that men were much more likely to be given prison sentences than women. Even in very serious cases, (manslaughter) women were more able to avoid prison sentences than men

9 Question 2 Question 2 Does the criminal justice system treat women unfairly? Does the criminal justice system treat women unfairly?

10 Rape Trials Carol Smart (1989) states that rape trials “celebrate male sexual need and female sexual capriciousness” Carol Smart (1989) states that rape trials “celebrate male sexual need and female sexual capriciousness” To illustrate this statement Smart quotes British judges; To illustrate this statement Smart quotes British judges; “It is well known that women in particular.. are likely to be untruthful and invent stories” Judge Sutcliffe (1976) “It is well known that women in particular.. are likely to be untruthful and invent stories” Judge Sutcliffe (1976) Women who say no don’t always mean no….if she doesn’t want it she only has to keep her legs shut” Judge Wild (1982) Women who say no don’t always mean no….if she doesn’t want it she only has to keep her legs shut” Judge Wild (1982)

11 Rape Trials Sandra Walklate (2001) “The female victim rather than the male suspect ends up on trial. Sandra Walklate (2001) “The female victim rather than the male suspect ends up on trial. Rape trials continue to see things from a male point of view and accepts without question that men are unable to restrain their desires once women have given them any indication they may be available for sex.” Rape trials continue to see things from a male point of view and accepts without question that men are unable to restrain their desires once women have given them any indication they may be available for sex.”

12 Double standards in the criminal justice system Heidensohn(1985) states that women are treated more harshly when they deviate from social norms of female sexuality Heidensohn(1985) states that women are treated more harshly when they deviate from social norms of female sexuality Eg. Promiscuous girls are more likely to be put into care than boys who involve themselves in similar behaviour Eg. Promiscuous girls are more likely to be put into care than boys who involve themselves in similar behaviour Courts are also reluctant to imprison mothers with young children Courts are also reluctant to imprison mothers with young children Allen (1998-9) stated that men are more likely to be fined and imprisoned partly because they are seen as less central to the family Allen (1998-9) stated that men are more likely to be fined and imprisoned partly because they are seen as less central to the family

13 Pat Carlen (1997) Pat Carlen (1997) “The majority of British women who go to prison are less likely to be sentenced due to the seriousness of their crimes and more according to the courts assessment of them as wives, mothers and daughters “The majority of British women who go to prison are less likely to be sentenced due to the seriousness of their crimes and more according to the courts assessment of them as wives, mothers and daughters


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