1 Most crime seems to be committed by males.
4/5 convicted offenders are male. Among
offenders, a higher proportion of females are
convicted of property offences (accept
burglary), while a higher proportion of males
are convicted of violent or sexual offences.
Male are more likely to commit serious
2 DO WOMEN COMMIT LESS CRIME?
2.1 Some sociologists argue that the official statistics
underestimate the amount of female offending. 2
arguments have been put forward to support this
2.1.1 Female crimes are less likely to be
reported e.g. women's shoplifting is less
likely to be reported than men's violence.
2.1.2 Even when women's crimes are
reported, they are less likely to be
3 THE CHIVALRY THESIS
3.1 The idea that women are less
likely to be prosecuted for their
3.2 Argues that the criminal
justice system (CJS) is
more lenient to women
because its agents -
police officers, judges,
juries etc - are men, who
are socialised to act
3.3 POLLAK argues that men have a protective
attitude towards women, so they are
unwilling to arrest, charge, prosecute or
convict them. Their crimes are less likely
to end up in the official statistics, giving an
invalid picture that under-represents
3.4 EVIDENCE FOR
3.4.1 GRAHAM & BOWLING found in self-report studies that young males were
2.33 times more likely than females to admit to having committed an
offence in the previous year - whereas the official statistic show males as 4
times more likely to offend.
3.4.2 HOOD'S study of over 3000 defendants found
that women were about 1/3 less likely to be
jailed in similar cases.
3.5 EVIDENCE AGAINST
3.5.1 FARRINGTON & MORRIS'
study of magistrates' court
found women were not
sentenced more leniently for
comparable offences. BOX'S
review of self-report studies
concludes that women who
commit serious offences are
not treated more favourably
3.5.2 BUCKLE & FARRINGTON'S
study of shoplifting witnessed
twice as many males
shoplifting - despite the fact
that the numbers of male &
female offenders in the official
statistics are roughly equal.
This suggests that women
shoplifters are more likely to be
prosecuted than male
3.6 BIAS AGAINST WOMEN
3.6.1 FEMINISTS argue that the
CJS is not biased in favour of
women as the chivalry thesis
claims, but biased against
them. They argue that CJS
treats women more harshly,
especially when they deviate
from gender norms of
3.6.2 HEIDENSOHN notes the double standards of courts
punishing girls, but not boys, for promiscuous sexual
3.6.3 CARLEN found Scottish
courts were much more likely
to jail women whose children
were in care than women
whom they saw as good
3.6.4 WALKATE argues that in rape cases
it is the victim who is on trial since
she has to prove her respectability
in order to have her evidence
4 FUNCTIONALIST SEX ROLE THEORY
4.1 PARSONS' FUNCTIONALIST
explanation focuses on gender
socialisation & role models in the
nuclear family to explain gender
differences in crime.
4.2 Women perform the expressive role at home, including
responsibility for socialisation. This gives girls an adult role
model, but boys reject feminine models of behaviour that
express tenderness, gentleness & emotion.
4.2.1 Instead, boys distance
themselves by engaging in
masculinity' - risk-taking,
aggression & anti-social
4.3 Men take the instrumental role,
performed largely outside the home.
This also makes socialisation more
difficult for boys.
4.4 COHEN argues that the absence
of a male role model in the home
means boys are more likely to
turn to all-male street gangs as a
source of masculine identity.
Here they earn status by acts of
4.4.1 Similarly, RIGHT REALISTS argue that the
absence of a male role model in matrifocal
lone-parent families leads to boys'
5 FEMINISTS explain gender differences in offending terms of patriarchy.
5.1 HEIDENSOHN - PATRIARCHAL CONTROL
5.1.1 HEIDENSOHN argues that women commit fewer crimes
than men because patriarchal society imposes greater
control over women, thus reducing their opportunities
to offend. Patriarchal control operates at home, in public
& at work.
188.8.131.52 AT HOME
184.108.40.206.1 Women's domestic role, w/ it's constant housework &
childcare, imposes severe restrictions on their time &
movement & confines them to the house for long
periods, reducing their opportunities to offend.
220.127.116.11.2 Men are able to
role on women,
e.g. by the
18.104.22.168.3 Daughters are also subject to
patriarchal control, e.g. w/
restrictions on going out or
staying out late. Instead, they
develop a 'bedroom culture',
socialising at home w/ friends
rather than in public spaces. Girls
are also required to do more
housework, which also restricts
their opportunities to engage in
deviant behaviour on the streets.
22.214.171.124 IN PUBLIC
126.96.36.199.1 Women are
public places by
the fear of male
Media reporting of
rapes helps to
188.8.131.52.2 Females are also controlled in public by their fear of being
defined as not respectable. Dress, make-up, ways of acting
etc, defined as inappropriate can gain a woman a
'reputation'. Women on their own may avoid going into
pubs -which are sites of criminal behaviour - for fear of
being regarded as sexually 'loose'.
184.108.40.206 AT WORK
220.127.116.11.1 Women's subordinate position at work reduces criminal
opportunities. The 'glass ceiling' prevents women rising
to senior positions where there are more opportunities
for white-collar crime.
5.2 CARLEN - CLASS & GENDER DEALS
5.2.1 CARLEN studied 39 working class women who
had been convicted of a range of crimes. 20 were
in prison or youth custody. CARLEN argues that
most convicted serious female criminals are
sample - consisted
largely of serious
offenders, over 1/2
of whom were in
5.2.2 CARLEN uses HIRSCHI'S control theory to explain female crime.
18.104.22.168 HIRSCHI argues that humans act rationally & are
controlled by being offered a 'deal': rewards in return
for conforming to norms.
22.214.171.124 People commit crime if
they don't believe they
will get the rewards, or
if the rewards of crime
appear greater than the
126.96.36.199 CARLEN argues that
are generally led to
conform through the
promise of two 'deals':
188.8.131.52.1 THE CLASS DEAL
184.108.40.206.1.1 Women who work will get a decent
standard of living.
220.127.116.11.1.2 In terms of the class deal, the women
in CARLEN'S study had failed to find a
legitimate way of earning a decent
living. Most had always been in
poverty; many could not get a job &
had experienced problems claiming
18.104.22.168.2 THE GENDER DEAL
22.214.171.124.2.1 Women who conform to the conventional
domestic gender role will gain the
material & emotional rewards of family
126.96.36.199.2.2 In terms of the gender deal, some had been
abused by their fathers or partners. Over 1/2
had spent time in care, which broke family
188.8.131.52 Ignores the importance of free will & choice in offending.
5.2.3 THE LIBERATION THESIS
184.108.40.206 ADLER'S 'liberation thesis' argues
that as women become liberated
from patriarchy, their offending will
become similar to men's. Women's
liberation is leading to a new type
of female criminal & a rise in the
female crime rate.
220.127.116.11 ADLER argues that the
patriarchal controls &
become more equal.
18.104.22.168 Women no longer just
commit traditional female
crimes (e.g. shoplifting,
prostitution). There are
more women in senior
positions at work & this
gives them the opportunity
to commit serious
22.214.171.124 The female crime rate
started rising before the
movement began & most
female criminals are
working-class & unlikely to
be influenced by women's
6 WHY DO MEN COMMIT CRIME?
6.1 Evidence strongly suggests
that most offenders are men.
What is about being male that
increases the likelihood of
offending? Attention has
focused to explain this
6.2 MESSERSCHMIDT - ACCOMPLISHING MASCULINITY
6.2.1 MESSERSCHMIDT argues that masculinity is an
'accomplishment' - something that men have to consistently
work at constructing & presenting to others. In doing so, some
men have more resources than others to draw upon.
6.2.2 HEGEMONIC MASCULINITY
126.96.36.199 The dominant form of masculinity & the one that most men
wish to accomplish. It is defined through paid work, the ability
to subordinate women (both at home & work) &
6.2.3 SUBORDINATE MASCULINITY
188.8.131.52 Some men, including many lower-class & ethnic
minority men, lack the resources to accomplish
hegemonic masculinity & so turn to crime. However,
MESSERSCHMIDT notes that some middle-class men
also use crime to achieve hegemonic masculinity, but in
their case it is white-collar or corporate crime.