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The Double Bind of Gender Inequality in Capital Punishment Cases

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The Double Bind of Gender Inequality in Capital Punishment Cases

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  • Feb. 14, 2011
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The Double Bind of Gender Inequality in Capital Punishment Cases

Many groups in American history have traveled various paths to challenge the one dimensional thinking that has been etched in our cultural thought process due to the Constitutional language this country was built on. While these pathways have their individual twists and turns, they all have intersected for the common cause of equality. Hispanic, African American, Homosexual, and Disabled Americans are just a few of the groups that have each raised a cohesive voice to synergize the cause. One group that sometimes gets overlooked but still continues to carry the torch is Women. Apart from the Equal Rights Amendment and the Suffrage movement, the path of gender equality unfortunately appears to be the road that no one talks about too much. A potential reason for this subdued voice could be attributed to the suggestion that we live in a perceived male dominated society which distorts, dictates and many times defines our reality. This reality has prevailed for so long that it has unfortunately become accepted on a sub-conscious level to the point where many women fall prey and put on their own invisible shackles of defined roles without even thinking about it. While gains have been made, the magnitude of the remaining path that still lies ahead can be seen through the spillover effects in our country’s basic doctrine, free enterprise, and judicial system. In an attempt to further dissect the issue of gender equality, this essay will focus on the idea of gender bias in capital punishment cases and how women actually seem to be benefiting from the sameness/difference double bind in this particular case. The question that cannot be ignored is if this benefit is really a benefit?

Previous authors have established the fact that the ratio of women who have faced and been sentenced to capital punishment is significantly low to the 13% of women who have been convicted of violent crimes such as...