Gender, Crime & Justice


'Female' crimes less likely to be reported. For example, shoplifting is less likely to be noticed or reported than the violent or sexual crimes more often committed by men. 

Even when women's crimes are detected or reported, they are less likely to be prosecuted

Four out of five convicted offenders in England and Wales are male

Men are about 15 times more likely to be convicted of homicide

The chivalry thesis 

Most criminal justice agents - such as police officers - are male 

Otto Pollak (1950) - argues that men have a protective attitute towards women and that police officers dislike to arrest them or judges to find them guilty. 

Females are more likely than males to be released on bail 

Females are more likely than males to receive a fine or a community sentence, and are less likely to be sent to prison 

Heidensohn: patriarchal control 

Heidensohn (1996) argues that the most striking thing about women's behaviour is how conformist it is - they commit fewer and less serious crimes than men - patriarchal society imposes greater control over women = reduces their opportunity to offend. 

Women's domestic role = imposes severe restrictions on their time and movement and makes them stay at home for long hours, reducing their opportunities to commit a crime 

Dobash & Dobash (1979) = many violent attacks result from men's dissatisfaction with their wives' performance or domestic duties. Men also try to control women financially = denying women sufficient funds for leisure activities etc

Girls are less likely to be allowed to stay out late - as a result, they develop a 'bedroom culture', where they socialise more at home rather than going out with their friends

Girls are also required to do more homework than boys which restricts their opportunity to engage in deviant behaviour 

Women are controlled in public places by the fear of getting male violence against them 

= 54% of women avoided going out after dark to avoid being victims of crime

Media reporting of rapes adds to women's fear 

Dress, make up and ways of speaking and acting that are seen as inappropriate can gain a woman a 'reputation' for example women may avoid going to pubs in order to not being mistaken for prositutes 

Sue Lees (1993)- boys maintain control over girls at school through sexualised verbal abuse and by labelling girls 'slags' if they fail to conform to gender expectations

Sexual harassment at work - seen as a way of keeping women 'in their place'. Women are less likely to be involved in white collar crime as the 'glass ceiling' prevents them from rising to senior positions 

Women are more likely to be poor so this could be why they can be pushed into crime by their financial situation (eg. gender inequalities on the labour market) = may turn to prostitution to maintain a standard way of living 

Bias against women

Double standards - courts punish girls but not boys for premature or promiscuous sexual activity Sharpe…


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