This essay GENDER AND CRIME has a total of 1618 words and 8 pages.
GENDER AND CRIME
KIRUI NICOLE CHEPKORIR
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Gender as a social inequality has always played a major role in understanding crime and the criminal justice system in society. Over the years, statistics have shown that men and women differ in the crimes they commit, the rate at which they commit them and their experiences as victims. This essay aims to explain the reasons behind the disparity in the crimes committed by different genders and how the society responds to the offences committed in relation to the gender of the offender, especially when it comes to violent crime but with no particular focus on one particular country or one type of crime.
THEORIES EXPLAINING GENDER
The relationship between gender and crime is highly evident in terms of statistics. Women are seven times more likely to commit crimes than men with a higher proportion of women convicted of property offences and men convicted of violent or sexual offences. Why is it then that men commit more crimes than women? Is it that the figures are flawed in some ways or women genuinely commit lesser crimes? If so, how would we explain reasons behind crimes committed by both men and women?
In most of our societies, if not all, offences committed especially violent ones are usually judged by the gender of the offender. Within these societies, gender roles greatly differ between the males and females. Females, as Parsons (1964) stated, tend to be more caring and expressive while their male counterparts tend to be more competitive and independent. Parsons argued that since females had a more ‘expressive' role in the family they were less likely to commit any crime as having a caring attitude meant that one was less likely to cause harm to another human being in any way. Males on the other side are socialized to act in a masculine way. Sociologist Sutherland (1960) stated that ‘boys are taught to "rough and tough" which makes them more delinquent'. It is this need to be masculine that led to boys indulging in more crime than girls.
Messerschmidt (1993) argues that there is a struggle for ‘normative masculinity' which is a social construct that basically puts out certain norms and behaviors that describe ‘real men'. This social construct pushes men to want to act to act in a masculine way or in ways that are considered normal for a man to do. Connell (1995) further distinguishes between two types of masculinity that is hegemonic masculinity and subordinate masculinity which co-exist in the society. Hegemonic masculinity is defined as the subordination of women, work in the labor market and the uncontrollable sexuality of men. On the other hand, subordinate masculinity is quite opposite. It is considered more expressive and used to describe men who have no desire to accomplish the so called masculinity and/or have no resources to do so. This kind of power is mainly exerted in the workplace as the males are able to provide for their families. Lack of a channel to exert this power for example unemployment leads to them finding other means such as crime to do so.
Feminists theories have also been brought forward in trying to understand the relation between crime and gender. Over the years, the concept of patriarchy has been centrally placed in many feminist theories. Patriarchy as defined in sociology is a system in which power solely rests in the males with its origins from the ancient Greek patriarches, which was a society where power was held and passed down by the elder males. Frances Heidensohn (1985) argued that control of females by males discouraged deviance by reducing their opportunities to offend. She used the control theory to further explain three main areas where females were controlled. These are; home, public and work.
At home, women tend to have domestic roles that