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Do women commit more crime?

  • Less likely to be reported
  • 'Female crimes' less likely to me noticed or reported eg property crime
  • Prostitution- not likely to be reported by either party
  • More likely to be let off lightly
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The Chivalry Thesis

  • Most criminal justice agents are male and socialised to act in a 'chivalrous' way towards women
  • Pollak- Men have a protective attitude towards women- 'hate to accuse women and send them to their punishment'
  • Criminal justice system is more lenient with women
  • Graham and Bowling- IRL males 2.33x more likely to commit crime, official statistics 4x
  • Flood Page et al - 1 in 11 women had been cautioned, 1 in 7 men
  • Women are more likely to be cautioned
  • Ministry of justice - 49% female cautions, 30% male cautions
  • Hood - Women are 1/3 less likely to be jailed in similar cases
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Evidence against Chivalry Thesis

  • Women show more remorse, meaning they get a caution, not a prosecution
  • Box - Women who commit crimes aren' punished more leniently 
  • Female crimes are less serious, meaning they don't get prosecuted
  • Buckle and Farrington - 2x as many males shoplifting as females, official statistics say it's equal
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Bias Against Women

  • Double standards- Courts punish girls for sexual behaviour
  • Women who do not conform are punished more harshly
  • Stewart - Magistrated perceptions of female defendants were based on stereotypical gender roles
  • Carlen - Women are jailed less for the seriousness of their crimes but more what kind of mother, daughter or wife they are
  • Scottish judges are more likel to jail women whose childen were in care than women who they saw as good mothers
  • Rape cases show the system is patriarchal
  • Women have to work to show they are respectable enough to be believed- women who aren't find it difficult to have their testimony believed by the court
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Functionalist Sex Role Theory

  • Boys are socialised to be tough and risk taking, meaning they are more disposed to find criminal opportunities
  • Parsons- Boys reject feminine models of behaviour, and distance themselves by finding 'compensatory compulsory masculinity' through aggression and anti social behaviour
  • Cohen- lack of male role model means boys will turn to all male street gangs as a source of masculine identity
  • Tries to explain gender differences through socialisation based on biological assumptions about gender differences
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Heidensohn- Patriarchal control

  • Women are controlled at home with restrictions on their time due to housework and childcare
  • Women are scared of domestic abuse so conform to these chores
  • Mne control women with financial power- refuse to give them money to perform activities that may lead to crime
  • Daughters aren't allowed out late, so can't commit crimes outside of the home
  • Women are controlled in public by the fear of crimes against them
  • 54% of women avoided going out after dark for fear of being victims of crime
  • Sensationalist reports of **** add to women's fear
  • Women are controlled by the fear of not being respectable- don't want to gain a reputation
  • Controlled at school by being called sluts etc
  • Sexual harassment at work keeps women 'in their place'
  • Glass ceiling etc prevents women from rising to senior positions where they can commit crimes such as fraud
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Carlen - Class and Gender Deals

  • Women are offered rewards for conforming to social norms. Sometimes people turn to crime if they think the rewards of crime are better, or if they can't achieve regular rewards
  • Women in study hadn't got rewards from class deal - 32 had been in poverty, found qualifications from jail didn't help. and found humiliation in trying to gain benefits. Felt they had nothing to lose from crime.
  • Women in study hadn't got rewards from gender deal - hadn't had opportunity, spent time in care breaking bonds with family and friends, or been physically/sexually abused by men in their life. 'Had nothing to lose and everything to gain' 
  • Underplays role of free will in crime. Only focuses on w.c. women. 
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Liberation Thesis

  • As women become more equal, their crimes become more frequent and as serious as mens
  • Structural changes in society have changed women's offending behaviour- women being relatively equal in the workplace means they can commit the same crimes. 
  • Rate of female offending and female share of offences have gone up- risen from 1 in 7 to 1 in 6.
  • Rising female participation in male crimes
  • Growth of 'girl gangs'
  • Crime rate started rising before women's liberation movement
  • Most female criminals are working class, the group least likely to be influenced by women's liberation
  • Women going into drugs may be a side affect of prostitution
  • Female gang members are expected to conform to trad. gender roles the same way as non deviant girls, showing that the illegitimate opportunity hasn't really opened up
  • Overestimates the extent to wich women are liberated, and how much they can participate in serious crime.
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