In this essay, I am going to address the sociological explanations for patterns of female crime. Crime has a negative impact in society. It refers to those activities that break the law of the land and are subject to official punishment. This essay will state why female crime is dramatically increasing throughout society. Additionally, whilst women commit less than men, they commit all types of offences. The explanations will be stated in this essay suggesting why and how they commit criminality. Female involvement in criminal activity is not restricted to a few areas.
While females do not tend to commit crimes of violence (violence by females tends to occur within the family, mainly as a final response to male violence), they are involved in a wide cross-section of crime. Therefore, while, in theory, women have similar opportunities as men to commit crime these may be limited by other factors. Most theories that explain crime, implicitly accept that males are more likely than female to commit crime. However, the number of female offenders has risen faster than the number of male offenders since 1958.
According to the social trends 2004. Marsh (“Sociology In Focus: Crime”, 1986) concluded that in terms of the ratio of conviction between females and males, where women have similar opportunities for criminal behaviour in relation to males, their respective patterns of crimes appear to be broadly similar. For example, where female crime most-closely approximates to male crime is in relation to shoplifting and it’s no coincidence that in this area of their social lives women have similar opportunities for crime to men.
Furthermore, still 80-90% of offenders found guilty or cautioned are male. Consequently, the sex-role theory argues that women are less likely to commit crime than men because there are core elements of the female role that limit their ability and opportunity to do so. The sex-role theory has three main elements that are integrated with it. They are socialization, which simply is where girls are socialized differently to boys.
The values that girls are brought up to hold are those that simply do not lead to crime. Sociologist, Talcott Parsons (1973) argues for instance, that as most children rearing is carried out by mothers, girls have clear role model to follow that emphasizes caring and support. This is one of the fundamental reasons why women have a low percentage in criminality because of how they are looked after by their mothers and by learning different norms and values to what a father may teach his son/daughter.
Social control is another element in the sex roles theory explaining that females are less likely to commit crime because of the closer levels of supervision that they are subjected to at home in childhood. This control carries on throughout life, with the role of women being more constrained that that of males. For instance Heidensohn (1996) points out “An examination of female criminality and unofficial deviance suggests that we need to move away from studying infractions and look at the conformity instead, because the most striking thing about female behaviour is how notably conformists to social mores women are”.
Heidensohn refers to the wide range of informal sanctions meaning punishments to discourage women from straying from ‘proper’ behaviour, including gossip, ill repute and the comments of male companions. Hagan (1987) studied child-raising patterns in Canada and argues that there was significantly greater informal control of daughter’s activities in families compared to sons. Finally, Marginalization argues that in order to commit a crime, a person needs to have the opportunity to do so.
The narrower range of roles that women are allowed to have consequently limits their opportunities to commit crime, as they re more confined by their socialization and are social control than men. The result of these three influences on the lives of females, is to deflect them away from offending and towards conformity Although male sociologists have largely ignored female offending, feminist writers from the various strands within feminism have all sought to include criminological analyses within their approaches. Feminist has four main perspectives on crime and deviance.
Being, Liberal feminism which approaches to feminism based on the idea that by brining women onto the agenda and by demonstrating how women have been ignored in research, there will be greater understanding of female deviance. In particular, new theories can be developed that will cover both males and females. Socialist feminism is also one main factor in the feminists perspective which concludes and stresses that the position of men and women in general and with reference to crime In particular can only be understood by locating males and females within the context of societies divided by both sexism and by capitalism.
Furthermore, radical feminism suggests that the only way to understand crime is to see it through a female perspective. Consequently, post modern feminism is particularly important since Smart (1990) and Cain (1986) argues that the very concerns of criminology (burglary/street crime etc) are actually a reflection of a male concerns, and that women should look at the way women are harmed by whole range of processes.
To summarise, I believe that the sex-role theory has valid and understandable facts to why women have low numbers in criminality. I consider better role models truly means a crime free life, which would make this society a peaceful and comfortable place to live in. However, everyone everywhere has once committed a crime being female or male. But we all have to remember “Its not a crime to make a mistake, but it is a crime if you don’t learn from it. “