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The Importance of Feminism within Criminology - Essay Example

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Name: Tutor: Course: Date: University: Importance of Feminism within Criminology Introduction Criminology refers to studies based on crime and criminal justice. Feminist criminology explores several topics on women as offenders and victims of crime as well as employees within the criminal justice system…
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Download file to see previous pages Similarly, feminist criminologists denounce unitary categorization of women oblivious of the influence of race, class, and sexual inequality (Britton 2000, p.63). Advocacy has been instrumental in the betterment of lives of women inmates such as expansion of medical services, job training, and educational prospects. The underrepresentation of women as criminal offenders is apparent. In most cases, the sex ratios of criminal offenders as released by social control authorities are biased. Consequently, women are underrepresented as victims of crime. Most of research undertaken on this topic disproportionately indicates that men are mostly victimized than women in all categories of violent crimes, not including rape and sexual assault. This is where feminist criminology has made much of its mark. Its literature on this arena has mainly highlighted offences of which women are most likely to be victims. Feminism has borne fruits as mainstream criminology literature now features feminist empirical work and theories, with some sections discussing rape and intimate violence. Britton (2000, p.70) argues that the field of criminology is masculinised where scholars mainly concentrate on activities of men owing to statistics that show men’s predisposition to criminal activities compared to women. Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives in Feminist Criminology Over the last thirty years, feminist criminologists have challenged theories, concepts, methodologies, and assumptions advanced by criminologists in the study of crime and justice system. Research on this topic indicates immense disparities in crime ratios between sex and race. However, a concise theory explaining this phenomenon is yet in place. Some of the pioneering work is Carol Gilligan’s theory of moral development that considers women’s ethic of care to reduce their probability of offending. Other theoretical arguments advanced include emancipation theory, which holds that, women’s lower rates of involvement in criminal activities stems from their confinement to domestic roles. The theory explains that this is occasioned by discrimination that caps their aspirations and opportunities. With social and political emancipation, women’s increased involvement in criminal activities will be inevitable (Makarios 2007, p. 107). Empirically, these theories have received minimal support because even though the rate of women’s involvement in violent crimes has increased; they remain relatively low compared to those of men. The increase can be attributed to increased economic marginalization of women as well as a change in how social control authorities view women (Makarios 2007, p.108). Many quantitative studies have been undertaken in this area most of which adopt equity approach. This is popular among liberal feminists where gender is conceptualized as an independent variable. Liberal feminists hold that women are denied access to equal political, financial, and career access purely on the basis of sex. The theorists claim that sociological factors, rather than physiological, best explain women’s criminality. Radical feminists have taken issue with these approaches by arguing that the victimization of women has been normalized and should not be equated to that of men. Radical feminists criticize the claims made by liberal feminists as naive. Radical feminists relate social relations, inequality, and crime to male power and privilege (Proctor 2006, p.28). In addition, they argue ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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