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Using Material from Item B and Elsewhere, Assess Sociological Explanations of Gender Differences in the Patterns of Crime

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Item B identifies a pattern in crime statistics; men are more likely to commit crime than women. Statistics say that four out of five convicted offenders in England and Wales are male. However this may not be the case as there are multiple sociological explanations of gender differences that can support each gender committing more crime.
The Liberation Thesis (Freda Alder 1975) looks at the link between changing women’s position and patterns in crime. The thesis argues that as society has become less patriarchal and women becoming more equal to men, that women have been given a greater opportunity to commit crime. Therefore it is concluded that as women become more liberated from patriarchy their crimes will become more serious and ‘male-like’. The reason for this is because women have started to adopt ‘male roles’ in society; for example higher positions in the workplace, therefore they are given a greater opportunity to commit crimes such as white collar crimes rather than female linked crimes such as shoplifting. Official statistics support the liberation thesis as the pattern in female crime has shifted highlighting the rise in female participation in crimes previously regarded as male crimes; armed robbery. However when official statistics have been analysed it has become apparent that female crime rates began rising in 1950 way before the women’s liberation movement.
The Chivalry Thesis is mentioned in item B as a sociological explanation for the gender differences in crime, and takes an entirely different approach to The Liberation Thesis. Pollak (1950) looks at the way the criminal justice system deal with crime and argues that men have protective attitudes; therefore hate to accuse women and punish them. Social control agents, in particular male judges and juries dislike to find women guilty, resulting in the justice system becoming more lenient to...

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