Outline and assess the reasons why women might not commit as much crime as men.

Topics: Crime, Sociology, Feminism Pages: 2 (1134 words) Published: November 3, 2014

Outline and assess the reasons why women might not commit as much crime as men. (50 marks) The term ‘crime’ means behaviour that breaks the law. For example, someone who commits a crime such as drug offences or theft is considered a criminal. Feminists accept that women commit less crime than men because they are more likely to conform to rules and social controls than men. Based on the evidence in the ‘Official Crime Statistics’ (OCS) of 2009 and 2010 in England and Wales, men are five times more likely to commit crime than women. Surprisingly, ‘violence’ is the second highest of offences done by both genders and the majority of the crime is ‘theft and handling’ for both genders. However, the stats might be socially constructed because the police officers sometimes don’t choose to report crime committed by women. The statistics are true to some extent; women commit less crime than men. Women conform to the social controls. According Heidensohn, women are generally more conformist because patriarchal society imposes greater control over their behaviour. Also, Smart notes that girls are more strictly supervised by their parents, especially outside the home. For example, girls might get a curfew like not staying out after dark because it can be dangerous for them to stay out that late. Feminists such as Lees state that girls are more likely to be controlled, in that they may fear acquiring a ‘bad’ reputation. She notes that boys in schools often use verbalised sexual labels. For example, they use the label ‘slag’ to control girls. This can lead to girls avoiding any behaviour that is deemed ‘deviant’ in order to avoid these labels which is why women commit less crime than men. However, this view has been criticised because society has changed and social control is balanced. Male crime might be shaped by masculinity. Men, according to Smart and Oakley, are socialised into ‘aggressive’, self-seeking and individualistic behaviour that may make them more disposed to...
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