Sociology A2 gender, crime and justice

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Gender patters in crime

  • 4/5 convcited offenders are men
  • females are usually convicted for property theft
  • males are usually convited for sexual or voilent assualts

1. do women commit less crime?

  • some sociologists agrue that offical stats hide the truth about the amount of female offending

females are less likely to be reported

they are also less likely to be prosectued

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Chilvary thesis

this states that women are less likley to be prosectued for their offences

  • the CJS is leninat to women
  • men have a protective attitude to women so therefore they are less likely to be prosecuted


  • self report study showed that female offenders are treated more leninatly
  • young males were 2.33 times more likely to admit to committing yet stats say they are 4 times more likely to offend
  • women were less likely to be cautioned
  • study showed that women were 1/3 less likely to be jailed


  • study showeds that in court there was no evidence to prove women were treated more differently and that women who commit serious offences are treated the same as men
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Bias against women

  • feminisits state that the CJS is biased towards women
  • there are double standards of courts when girls are prosecuted for sexually deviancy
  • women are treated more like offenders than victims when they have been ***** or when their children are in care they have to proeve themselves
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Explaining female crime

Functionalist sex role theory

Parsons (1955) gender socialisation and role models in nuclear families explain the differences in crime with gender

  • women have an expressive role which is a perfect role model for young girls but one which boys reject 
  • men have an instrumental role which causes difficulties for boys to socialise
  • A.K cohen, boys lack male role models so they turn to all male gangs
  • right realists, no male role mordel so boys turn to deliqunecy

feminisits: gender diffencerences in patrichary. there are two approaches control theory and liberationists thesis

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Feminists - control theory

partiarchal control: heidensohn

patricachal society controls women and reduceds their chances to offend or their opportunites to

1. home: at home they have duties to attend to and may be threatended with voilence by their husband if not done. daughter may also face control over what time they are in etc.

2. public: women want to look respectable and want to hold a level of dignity restriciting them from committing crimes

3. work: women can't even get any high jobs so have to be satisified with what they have

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Feminists Carlen: gender and class deal

Carhlen studied 39 working class women who had commited various offences, some were in prison others were in offending centres etc.

the ideas were used from Hirschis control theory:

  • humans act rationally controlled by being offered a deal
  • they commit crimes if they don't believe they will get the rewards of the deal

w-c women were led to confom thgrough the promise of 2 deals:

1. class: they would work and get a decent living

2. gender: they would recieve matieral and emotional rewards

when these fail, as class did when they failed to find legit ways of earning money and when gender failed when they were abused by males

they gained nothing so they turned to crime to get out of poverty

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Liberation thesis

Alder (175) women liberated from patrichary

  • they are offending more similiarly to males
  • there is a rise in female crime rates
  • society is no longer patricharal and women are becoming more equal
  • they are playing male roles by going to work (legit) and then commiting crimes (illegit)
  • they are also commiting white collar crimes as they are able to be in high profile jobs
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Why do men commit crime?

Offenders are mostly men which has brought attention to masculinity.

Messerchmidt: accomplishing masculinity

  • all men have to accomplish masculinity but not all have the legitimate means to do so.

Hegemonic masculinity:

  • domaint form of masculinity, through paid work, women and hetrosexuality

Suborbinatied masculinities:

  • lower class and ethnic miniorites don't have the legitimate means to do so, therofre they commit crime to achieve masculinity. middle class do commit crime but it is usually white collar
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