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

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Asses the arguments and evidence which suggest

women commit much less crime than men

The sociology gender of has mostly been focused on women and femininity, but over the recent years men and masculinity has also been studied. Some sociologists believe that gender can be identified as male and female through their organs that produce sex cells and their hormones, enabling women to bear children but not men. There is also the difference of men being physically strong and women being weak. The biological differences in men and women are determined through their behaviour and their roles played in society. For example, men’s role is to go out and provide for the family, they’re seen as the ‘breadwinners’, and men are seen as ‘housewives’, producing children, cooking and cleaning. This may lead to the large-scale view that women commit less crime than men because women are assumed to not having the time and motive to commit crime and men having both. In this essay views from different writers and sociologists will be discussed on gender and crime. For what reasons are women stereotyped and assumed to commit less crime? Can sociological situations affect the crime committed by gender? If so, how and why?

        Frances Heidensohn (1985), a famous feminist, believes that women do commit less crime than men. She looked at women and social control, saying that it was difficult for women to commit a crime in a male dominant society; a patriarchal society. She believed that women spend all their time in housework and do not have enough time to get involved in crime. If women tried to get out, the ‘man’ of the house would force them to stay in. Heidensohn has also said that women are scared to go out in public in fear of being attacked or raped; especially after the dark as shown in the Islington crime survey (1986) where 54 per cent were women and 14 per cent were men. 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. This suggests that women do not get a chance to commit crime and when they do it is due to the irresponsibility of men.         

        Carol smart (1977) is a writer who studied feminist approaches towards gender and crime and came to a similar conclusion as Heidensohn’s; “In comparison with the massive documentation on all aspects of male delinquency and criminality, the amount of work carried out on the area of women and crime is extremely limited.” Smart, p52. This quote shows that Smart believed that female offenders were not seen as a big problem, and were not interesting enough to research. Her research showed that women were more to just be cautioned for the offences of which they were found guilty as opposed to men. In 1996, males were 64 times more likely to be found guilty and cautioned than women. Smart also said that the criminal justice system is biased towards women, especially in sex related offences, supporting this view with quotes by judges in rape cases, “Women who do not always say no do not always mean no. It is not a question of how she says it, how she shows it and makes it clear. If she doesn’t want it she only has to keep her legs shut.” Judge Wilde, p.412.

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        Although these views have been disregarded by Otto Pollack (1950), which is discussed later, it has been supported by Sandra Walkate (1995), who believed that instead of the male offender, it was the female victim whom ended up on trial. She has said that rape cases are looked at from ‘a male point of view’. She has stated that the police were reluctant to make arrests in cases of violence against women, but since the Dobash and Dobash study (1979), they have started taking such cases more seriously. Writers such as Heidensohn, Smart and Walkate have all said that women ...

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The content of this essay is strong and refers to all the main key sociologists within the topic of gender and crime. The introductions and conclusions however are a little weak and need to be more defined. The answer also drifts at times into discussing punishment rather than committing crime. Overall: ****