Assess Sociological Explanations for Gender Differences in Offending Rates

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Submitted By jodilturner
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Men are suspected, charged and convicted of crime of all types more than women. This pattern crosses all other social factors such as age, class, ethnicity and region. This is shown in the official statistics. In 2001, 167 per 10,000 of the male population were found guilty or cautioned for an offence, compared to 3.7 per 10,000 of the female population. There are different sociological explanations for why men seem to commit more crime than women.
Men and women are socialised in different ways and the values they are taught can encourage men to commit crime. Heidensohn (1986) is a feminist who says gender socialisation prompts men to be more aggressive, which makes them more likely than women to commit violent crimes. She also says that women are socialised into not being criminal in the same way men are socialised into seeing criminal activity as acceptable. Further explanations for why men are more likely to commit crime is provided by Messerschmidt (1993) and why women are less likely to commit crime by the sex-role theory. Messerschmidt (1993) proposed the idea of normative masculinity which ‘defines masculinity through difference from and desire for women’. Normative masculinity is something men have to achieve and are socialised into wanting it. There are different ways of achieving this type of masculinity. For example, a businessman can express power in the workplace whereas those with no power are forced to turn to violence to achieve their normative masculinity. The sex-role theory suggests why women are less likely to commit crime. This is because there are core elements of the female role that limit their ability and opportunity to do so. However, the difference in the way males and females are socialised fails to explain why the majority of men don’t commit crime and why some women do.
Not every crime committed by a woman is reported and not all women…...

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