Women and Crime

  • Created by: AliceEva
  • Created on: 29-04-15 10:43


  • Statistics are misleading, they under estimate female offences.
  • Certain crimes are more 'female' (less serious) E.g Soliciting sex, Shoplifting, child abuse etc.
  • The Criminal Justice System is male dominated, judges let females off with cautions/fines as they are expected to be chivalrous towards women = THE CHIVALRY THESIS.
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  • Women are expected to be  kind and gentle (stereotypically)
  • if they deviate from this stereotype they are veiwed as 'Double Deviants'
  • E.g Myra Hindley and the Moors murders with boyf Ian Brady.
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Freda Adler

Female crime has increased, especially 'male crimes' E.g robbery up 109% , fraud up 50%.

  • Men and women are being arrested 3:1

Reason for increase?

  • Employment, more access to money etc.
  • The recession
  • Single parent families
  • Feminist idealogy
  • Women want more status = Crime
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Allen - support for Chivalry thesis

  • Study of drink driving, men are given custodial sentances while women are only fined or banned - like a slap on the wrist punishment
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Farrington + Morris - CRITIQUE

  • They suggested that women are treated more HARSHLY
  • Suggesting that Pollak was wrong
  • E.g **** cases, women are made to feel like it was their own fault for what they were wearing or where they were, for an example Judge PICKLES called a 14 year old girl **** victim "no little angel"
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Dobash and Dobash - CRITIQUE

  • The police are more unlikely to arrest a man in a case of domestic violence as it as seen as a private matter!
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Heidensohn - CRITIQUE

  • Women are treated more HARSHLY
  • When they deviate from the expected stereotype
  • Norms and Values in society expect men to be violent and women to be gentle.
  • When women deviate from this it may mean they get a harsher sentance and may be subjected to psychological reports
  • This is called 'DOUBLE DEVIANCE'
  • 1) Sentanced for crime
  • 2) Not behaving like a woman.
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Anne Campbell

  • Three year study in New York City
  • Overt, Non participation Observation.
  • found three things:

1) Women craved reputation of bravery, and wanted others to fear and respect them (links to cohen's theory)

2) Young mothers initiated their children into their gang from a very young age through their socialisation (links to NRR rational choice theory)

3) Media stereotype of women such as Kill Bill who were attractive and assertive.

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Interveiwed 39 women between the ages of 15 and 46 years old - Good age range

  • Women only turn to crime when the pro's outweigh the con's (similar to NRR rational choice theory)
  • Women have historically been promised rewards in the workplace and home that they can never recieve.
  • Workplace rewards - 'Class deal', by working women have been promised materialism.
  • Home rewards - 'Gender deal', being a mother offers 'psychological rewards'

When these rewards are not enough or feel false these women must gain pleasure and fulfillment elsewhere... CRIME (similar to strain?)

Gender inequality in the workplace? Abuse in the home?

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Heidensohn (again) CRITIQUE of Adler

  • Women commit LESS crime than men
  • They are much more controlled in the home, work and public

(This links to Dobash and Dobash, control within the home and dual burden etc)

  • HOME - Being a housewife restricts oppurtunities to commit crime, Endless hours of work, childcare etc = No free time!
  • PUBLIC - Women are controlled in the workplace by social norms E.g how you should dress, wear makeup, how you should speak and act etc E.g A single man in a pub on his own would be normal but a woman???
  • WORK - Women are more likely to be controlled by male managers E.g pregnancy, maternity leave, sexual harrasment in the workplace, unwanted sexual advances - 60% of women have experienced sexual assult in the workplace.
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Sutherland - Sex Role Theory.

  • Boys and girls are socialised very differently as children, for example girls are closely watched and supervised while they do passive play, Boys however will be very loosely supervised and will mainly take part in aggresive play.
  • Girls and boys are often punished differently aswell.
  • This accompanied with the lack of male role models in warly education, boys are encouraged to be more aggresive = More oppurtunity to commit CRIME
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Carol Smart - Transgressive Criminology

For too long criminlogy has been a male dominated and focused discipline.

  • Men studying men
  • Gender blind studies
  • We need a NEW transgressive Criminology
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