Examine some of the reasons why females may be less likely than males to commit crimes.
Women in general seem to have a lower rate of offending than men. Some sociologists take the view that it is social factors rather than biological factors that cause the gender differences in offending. Sociologists have put forward three main explanations of gender differences in crime, which are the sex role theory, the control theory and the liberation thesis. The sex role theory and the control theory both give us explanations for why females are less likely than males to commit crimes, however the Liberation thesis argues this, and suggests there are no gender differences between male and female crime rates. Gender differences in crime began by focussing on differences in the socialisation of males and females. Boys are encouraged to be tough, aggressive and risk taking. This means they are more disposed to commit acts of violence and take advantage of criminal opportunities when they present themselves to them. Parson’s traced down differences in crime and deviance to the gender roles in nuclear families. Whilst men take the instrumental role of a breadwinner, women perform the expressive role in the home where they take the main responsibility to socialise the children. As girls have access to an adult role model and boys to not it means that, boys are likely to reject feminine models of behaviour that express tenderness, gentleness and emotion and distance themselves by engaging in ‘compensatory compulsory masculinity’ through aggression and anti-social behaviour that lead to acts of delinquency more than women. Furthermore, new right theorists argue that the absence of male role models in matrifocal lone parent families leads to boys turning criminal. Also, men have much less of a socialising role than women in the conventional nuclear family; therefore socialisation for boys is much more difficult compared to girls. Cohen argued that this relative lack of an...
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