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Gender’s Role: Criminal Justice Essay

Since the time that laws came to exist their purpose was to set the standards for common citizens to follow and abide by. In this gender has always played a vital role whether it was good or bad it changed our criminal justice system as a whole and helped develop it. In this paper it will explain the issues using data on male and female offenders in the past as well our present today. Before I begin this essay the differences between men and women are most often divided into two groupings: gender differences and sex differences.

Gender differences are those that are ascribed by society that relate to expected social roles whereas sex differences are biological differences. Most of the differences recognized by society, between men and women, are gender differences that are not biologically determined. Unfortunately these socially constructed differences are entrenched largely in inequality. In fact most, if not all organizational structures, including the United States criminal justice system is gendered, meaning that they are rooted in discrimination between the sexes.

More often than not, if an organization or any other analytical unit is gendered, then gender is not simply an addition to ongoing processes that are gender neutral. Fundamental in this distinction between sex and gender are the notions of patriarchy and sexism. Sexism refers to the oppressive attitudes and behaviors directed at either sex; it is discrimination or prejudice based on gender. However, these discriminations, prejudices and negative behavior and attitudes based on sex and gender have been historically aimed at women.

Patriarchy on the other hand refers to a social, legal and political climate that values male dominance and hierarchy. Central to the patriarchal ideology is the belief that women’s nature is biologically, not culturally, determined. What many may identify as gender differences, such as the idea that women are natures and mothers, are often defined as sex differences by the patriarchy. Although the modern day patriarchal social structure is not as powerful as it once was, the state still operates from a man’s standpoint. The laws are consistent with men’s experiences and viewpoints.

Men are often the ones studied as non-gendered subjects, in criminology, as in other disciplines, it is men, not women, who supply the essential standard case. Men, themselves, are not compared with others to see what makes them specific and different. Patriarchy then remains as part of a defining quality of culture and society and thus criminology and criminal justice. This patriarchal oppression is causing many, feminists and otherwise to advocate for “feminist or woman’s law in order to “describe, explain and understand women’s legal positions, especially for the purpose of improving women’s positions in the law and society.

Now that we have a better understanding we can continue on with this persuasive essay. Treatment through criminal justice can have it pros and cons for male and female. The good point of views can be looked at in multiple ways in the eyes of the beholder. Statistics indicate that men are more likely to commit crime than women. For example, in 2002 80% of known offenders 481,000 were men. As there are a number of problems with the reliability and validity of statistics, an alternative to information are self-report studies.

Sex role theory: this theory argues that boys and girls are socialized differently, therefore resulting in boys becoming more delinquent. There are different versions of this theory. Edwin Sutherland 1949 stated that there are clear gender differences when it comes to socialization. Firstly, girls are more supervised and more strictly controlled. Secondly, boys are encouraged to take risks and to be tough and aggressive. Therefore, boys have more of an opportunity and an inclination to commit crime. Talcott Parsons 1995 believes that there are clear and obvious gender roles within the nuclear family.

The father performs roles which show him to be more of the leader and provider, whilst the mother performs the expressive role of giving emotional support and socializing children. These roles are rooted from the birth of their children as mothers have to give birth and nurse children. Girls have a readily available female role model at home (their mother) whereas boys have less access to their male role model as traditionally the father was out at work for most of the time. Boys will be socialized largely by their mother and will tend to reject behavior that is seen as feminine as they compulsively pursue masculinity.

Because of the emphasis on toughness and aggression this encourages anti-social behavior and delinquency. I believe that gender should not play a significant role in treatment through criminal justice. I say this because we live in a world were male and female should be equal. It has changed since back in the day of the 1900th were mostly men has more power than women. There are certain things that women can do that men can’t that is why women are put in some places were men might seem too assertive or might not be so compassionate and vice versa. I think this is why women can be elected and have great careers that they didn’t have before.

Now I do think it is unfair that women sometimes get a smaller sentence then a man when it comes to committing a crime. I think this the case because women possess certain things that a man doesn’t so does that make it right I think not. This can be looked at many different views but if we are created equally and are equal why should this be. In conclusion through this essay we can interpret how gender should not play a role in criminal justice process. It is so that we do not have to relate to the past or anything that a man has that woman doesn’t. This so because we all are created equal and have the same rights so why should gender matter.


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