• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why are women less inclined towards deviancy and crime than men?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Scepticism about the validity and the reliability of criminal statistics is now, more or less universal. And although they do not provide an accurate picture of the amount of crime that occurs, there is one obvious observation that can be made. That is, over long periods of time and in many differing judicial systems, women have a consistently lower rate of officially recorded crime than that of men. (Heidensohn; 1996:2) For example, in 2000 the home office crime statistics showed that of the 1.7 million known offenders in England and Wales, only 316.000 were women. (Home Office Crime Statistics 2001) With this also being the case in other countries, why does this discrepancy occur? (Jones; 2000:87) This assignment will discuss some of the theories offered in an attempt to explain why women are less inclined towards deviancy and criminality than men. The amount of work carried out on the area of women and crime is extremely limited in comparison with that of men. Smart (1977) suggest that female offenders are seen as less of a problem for society, their crimes are trivial therefore, unworthy of research. Smart (1977) also pointed out that sociology and criminology have tended to be dominated by males. Therefore, crime was studied by men, about men. (Haralambos & Holborn; 1995:434) ...read more.

Middle

Hindelang (1979) examined American victimisation data and found that victims of female offenders did in fact report them to the police less often than was true for the victims of male offenders. (Morris; 1987:23) However, none of these explanations give any serious consideration to gender issues such as female socialisation. The impact of differential socialisation cannot be ignored; this starts at birth when parents respond differently to babies depending on what sex they believe the child to be. Girls are encouraged to retain a strong identification with their mothers and to imitate their behaviour. They grow up with a more emotional and sensitive outlook than that of boys. (Chodorow; 1978 cited in Fulcher & Scott; 1999:142) Girls are given dolls, soft toys and miniature domestic objects and appliances to play with, encouraging them to rehearse their expected adult roles as mothers and housewives. (Haralambos & Holborn; 1995:590) Therefore, because females are socialised in this way and because they are socialised into being passive and well behaved, they commit less crime. Sutherland (1947) attributed the relative lack of female criminality to this socialisation into the feminine role, and because they are more closely supervised than boys, there is less chance of them being exposed to criminal behaviour. Nor are they taught to be tough aggressive risk-takers, attributes that Sutherland considered necessary for a successful criminal. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heidensohn suggested his work was fanciful rather that scientific. (Haralambos & Holborn; 1995:438) In contrast, Pollack (1950) suggested women's crime was in fact similar to that of men, and that they were more likely to escape conviction because of male chivalry. In criticism, most other researchers have not found support for this chivalry thesis. Steven Box reviewed data from self-report studies in Britain and the United States and found that some studies did indicate leniency towards women but the majority did not. (Haralambos & Holborn; 1995:436) However, there is evidence to support Pollack's claim that female offenders are more likely to escape conviction than males, as official crime statistics have shown. Other explanations for women's lack of participation in criminal activities looked at gender issues. Their socialisation into the feminine role, and the way male-dominated patriarchal societies control women make it more difficult for women to break the law. Crime only becomes a possibility when the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages and are more appealing than the likely rewards of conformity. (Hirshi; 1969 cited in Haralambos & Holborn; 1995:441) Women are not specialists in crime but they commit almost all forms. Their potential for deviance may be as great as men's, but their actual depredations far fewer, suggesting that it is gender-linked factors that intervene to curb and gentle the possibilities of female criminality. But however plausible some of these explanations are, there is no single or special theory to explain why there is comparatively few female criminals. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Asses the arguments and evidence which suggest women commit much less crime than men

    4 star(s)

    At work most women are supervised by men and in some situations may experience sexual harassment towards them, which in effect may increase criminality. Heidensohn has defined women as being as being vulnerable and has said that women may only turn to crime if they lose the support of a man, possibly through prostitution.

  2. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    Jock Young argues left realism developed as a response to two main factors; the need to take the rising crime rate seriously and to produce practical solutions and the influence of right realism on government policy. Like Marxists left realists see society as an unequal capitalist one.

  1. Explore the different attitudes towards women in Othello

    Emilia is Desdemona's female servant, one of her closest confidants and is Iago's Wife. Emilia is perceived as having a more practical and shrewd sense about her that is more apparent than Desdemona's. Emilia pleads with Desdemona to confront Othello about his suspicions and when she discovers Iago's betrayal, she reveals him, even though he is her husband.

  2. Describe law and order in London in the late 19th century

    Sir Charles Warren, alleged that "if the writing had been left, there would have been an onslaught upon the Jews, property would have been wrecked and lives would probably have been lost". The writing was washed off by order of Warren before it could be photographed.

  1. What explanations have been suggested for occupational crime? Is it different from conventional ...

    The four categories are; Hawks, donkeys, wolves and vultures. Hawks have a weak grid and weak group. Examples include businessmen and salesmen. Occupations that emphasise individuality, autonomy and competition belong to Hawks fiddling in the workplace can often be a reason why the hawks business works.

  2. Examine some of the reasons why females may be less likely than males to ...

    Liberal and radical feminist theories have been questioned on empirical grounds. Panorama's research into violent women would seem to suggest that violent crime is in fact a significant and growing problem amongst females (e.g. girl gangs and female domestic abusers).

  1. Criminology - "Corporate and white-collar crimes are less serious than other kinds of crime, ...

    However, the long-term effects of white-collar and corporate crime on these individuals can be life shattering, if not fatal. In relation to crimes relating to large sums of money, such as fraud, many individuals can lose their life savings. Overall, "the cost of white-collar crime to the Australian community is

  2. Inequalities within the 'Criminal JUSTICE System/Process'

    This might be inaccurate, or out of context, but non the less it legitimates discrimination. Research shows that at every stage of the CJ process, discrimination takes place: This is despite the fact that evidence shows that black people are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of crime.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work