Gender and crime

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  • Gender and crime
    • Trends of gender and crime
      • Women commit less crime than men
      • 95% of the prison population are men in England and Wales
      • Men are 15x more likely to be convicted of murder
      • Men 60x more likely to be guilty of sex offences
    • Explaining trends in gender and crime
      • Chivalry thesis
        • Women are treated more leniently by the criminal justice system than men
        • Makes men appear more criminal or have higher rates of custodial sentencing
          • Women more likely to be fined/ cautioned
      • Sex role theory (Parsons)
        • Gender differences in socialisation mean that women are less likely to commit crime than men
          • Men taught aggression; women taught gentle and caring behaviour
        • Boys are more likely to be raised without a same-sex parent
          • Inadequate socialisation leading to higher crime rates
      • Control theory (Heidensohn)
        • Control in the home
          • Domestic tasks and childcare prevent opportunity to commit crime outside of the home
          • Domestic violence physically enforcing these roles
          • Bedroom culture in girls due to increased protection of women stops them going out and engaging in crime
        • Control in public
          • Fear of crime reduces women going/ staying out
          • Appearance and dress causing reputation
            • Reduces attendance to crime hubs such as pubs/ bars due to fear of negative perception
              • E.g as a prostitute
        • Control at work
          • Subordinate roles in the workplace due to the glass ceiling restricting opportunity to commit workplace crimes (white-collar crime)
          • Dominance by male supervisors and colleagues
            • Sexual harassment in the workplace
      • Carlen’s deals
        • Class deal: women in work will be provided with material rewards, leisure and decent living standards
          • When women are unable or do not want to meet the gender and class deals, crime becomes possible
        • Gender deal: patriarchy promises material and emotional rewards of the nuclear family and gender role conformity
          • When women are unable or do not want to meet the gender and class deals, crime becomes possible
        • Social class and poverty are important factors  in determining female crime
      • Liberation thesis (Fran Adler)
        • As women gain more status and are freed from patriarchy, crime becomes more severe and frequent
    • Why are men committing more crime?
      • Hegemonic masculinity (Messerschmidt)
        • Crime is a way for men to achieve or demonstrate masculinity
        • Strength is favoured over intelligence and increases aggressive reactions to challenge
        • Crime becomes possible as men seek to prove themself a real man


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