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Gender And Crime Essay

1857 words - 8 pages

Based on research from official statistics, there is clear evidence that in most countries, men commit far more criminal acts than women. For example, by their 40th birthday, approximately one in three males have a conviction of some kind, where as one in ten females have been convicted. This essay will explore the fundamental reasons as to why there is such difference between crime rates concerning men and women. It will also analyse theories from different sociologists including Carlen, Heidensohn and Lombroso.
The statistics show how recorded crime comes predominately from males. This type of research reveals that males are responsible for approximately four know offences for every one ...view middle of the document...

Due to this, they are generally more lenient towards female criminals, therefore meaning that fewer females are in the criminal statistics.
• Women are particularly capable at hiding their crimes as a result of the female biology. Women have the ability to deceive men because traditional disapproval prevents them from showing pain and discomfort resulting from menstruation. Also, women are able to ‘lie’ about their sexual interests, whereas men can’t.

Frances Heidensohn (1985) highlights a number of problems in Pollack’s argument. She reveals that later research shows that many shoplifting crimes are committed by males, and this evidence, countering Pollack’s theory, suggests men are more likely to be violent and commit sexual offences in a domestic setting. She then argues that due to changes, the law has reduced the amount of illegal abortions, claiming that even in 1950, when Pollack was writing, there was a large decrease in the number of female domestic ‘slaves’.
Such evidence makes Pollack’s theory that females are more likely to commit certain crimes seem questionable. Another criticism of Pollack’s argument, Heidensohn argues that Pollack’s claims are based on a debatable stereotype of females which is no longer as valid due to changes in law and the rapid differences in society.

There are many reasons as to why this difference occurs; it could be that men naturally commit more crimes than women.
However, Frances Heidensohn suggested that female crime was either a) overlooked or ignored by sociologists or b) sociologist would assume stereotypical ideas of women regarding criminal activity. For example, it could be assumed that females are too busy in the domestic setting to have time to commit crimes, whereas men are the stereotypical bread-winners meaning they are out in public more and so would have more opportunity to commit crime.
Heidensohn stated 4 reasons as to why female crimes were seen as ‘invisible’ to most sociologists:
• Male dominance of offenders
• Male domination of society
• Sociological theorizing
• Vicarious identification (where male sociologists get more excited about male rebellion where as it is against the traditional stereotype for women to commit)

Heidensohn suggests that we should ask stop the question ‘why do some women commit crime?’ but instead ask ‘why are women so non-criminal?’
She considers 3 explanations:
• Sex-role theory and gender socialisation
• Biological theory
• Transgression

Starting with sex-role theory and gender socialisation, this is where gender socialisation encourages women to adopt female characteristics, such as being emotional, less competitive and aggressive and more hesitant to take risks. They are also socialised into taking on traditional roles, such as being wives, mothers and domestic housewives. These combine to make women more afraid of risk taking involved in crime as well as giving them fewer opportunities to do so. It is also argues that often,...

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