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Outline and Assess Sociological Explanations of Gender Differences in Crime Rates.

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Introduction

Outline and Assess Sociological Explanations of Gender Differences in Crime Rates Official statistics show that when it comes to crime statistics, males clearly overshadow any crime committed by females. According to the Home Office in 1997, of people aged 20 years old in the population, fewer than 2% of females were found guilty of an offence compared with 9% of males. This would suggest that somehow statistics often ignore female offenders to a certain degree. However to add to this problem even self-report studies and victimisation studies, which are designed to eleviate the problems with official statistics, show a discernible division in the genders. This can suggest that perhaps it is not just a lack of acceptance of female crime but a difference in the gender constructs. All this has led to sociologists somewhat ignoring females in crime analysis, assuming it is a male phenomenon. So to successfully assess why there are gender differences in crime rates we must first find out why sociology ignores female offenders. Frances Heidensohn in 1989 suggested four reasons why sociology is, malestream, dominated by men. ...read more.

Middle

So it is clear that saying women do not commit crime is obviously not viable in answering the question due to the large evidence in favour of the statistics getting the figures wrong. So when do women commit crime and why do they? Although the figures are low in the statistics, women do commit all the same crimes as men. Jones in 1980 stated that women tend to murder husbands and lovers while men tend to murder strangers and friends. This puts sexuality at the forefront of reasons why women are criminal. Jones also said that 'women tend to murder in their own homes and they tend to use kitchen implements. Bringing up another gender issue, that women commit crime within and because of the domestic sphere. Further research shows that women murder in anger or self defence. This all however, is subject to societies views of women as passive and are unable to defend themselves or attack, that is why they commit crime. Some sociologists have suggested reasons why women commit crime. A very contentious reason is biology. Freud argued that women's desire to be men because of their discontentment at being wives and mothers caused them to commit crime. ...read more.

Conclusion

wealth, social and sexual success. So men may be criminal to assert themselves as men, yet Katz in 1988 came up with a different view. Katz claims that we fail to see the pleasure in committing crime. He says we need to see how we get a 'transgression's pleasure from doing evil, i.e. the thrill of shoplifting. He sites an example as robbery where the criminal exerts force and power over the victim. In conclusion it is clear that the gender differences in the crime rates have very complex and valid arguments. I believe that women are compelled to not be criminal through sheer lack of opportunity and they are socially constructed not to be. I find it very hard in this modern period to believe that authorities, no matter how far, can be lenient to criminals due to their gender. I also believe that men commit significantly more crime also because socialisation of the genders. You only have to look at young men in poor areas to see that they commit crime to assert their masculinity, something they cant do through employment because the opportunity it not there. It is clear however that official statistics are limited, so I think it falls to the authorities to find ways of cataloguing criminal behaviour in women more. Kerri Waters ...read more.

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