THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF FEMINIST RESEARCH
Q1. Overall, what aspect of criminology has been 'exposed' by feminist writers?
Feminist writers have managed to achieve many things and to also demonstrate that criminology is dominated by men in all areas. Practically all of the theories within criminology have relatively ignored women, only to see them predominately in the role of caregiver and mother rather than a prospective criminal. Women tended to be excluded altogether by theorist such as Merton and Durkheim for instance. Heidensohn (1985) showed four reasons for this: vicarious identification, male dominance of sociology, lower recorded levels of female crime and the nature of sociological theories of deviance. In the teaching of criminology males have dominated even though a vast majority of students were in fact female. Feminist research has shown Cohen's theories are based on working-class boys, but does not explain what leads females into crime
Q2.What examples of 'institutionalised sexism' have been uncovered?
Feminist research has shown that there are many areas in which 'institutionalised sexism' is prevalent.
When a woman is arrested for a crime, statistically she is less likely to be arrested following a stop and search whereas a man is more likely; women are more likely to receive a caution. Many female offenders often are single parents and some maybe pregnant resulting in more females receiving lesser sentences rather than imprisonment as the courts have the added responsibility of children to consider. As far as the crimes themselves, women are more likely to deviate out of necessity, for example shoplifting where a woman may steal from a shop to provide for her child/children. Females who appear in court whether
they are a victim or an offender tended to be regarded more favourably if they fit the stereotypical view of what a woman is, such...