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The main difference between gender is that men and women are socialized differently

Gender differences on crime and punishment. Political Research Quarterly v. The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this article and it is reproduced with permission.

Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited. Since the 1980 election, considerable political science attention has been devoted to the gap between women's and men's political preferences and voting behavior. Although the differences between the sexes have tended to be fairly small in empirical terms, FN1 they have appeared across a consistent range of issues.

  • Crime in Neighborhood Male 2;
  • In addition, boys tend to be disciplined with more "power-oriented techniques" Mussen and Eisenberg-Berg 1977;
  • Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited;
  • Journal of Family Issues.

At the same time, feminist theory has been exploring the implications of Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice 1982. Gilligan's suggestion that women's psychology is premised on an "ethic of care" rather than on an "ethic of justice" has been applied in numerous contexts because it seems to fit with the differences found in women's and men's approaches to a range of topics.

Gender differences have been well-established over a wide array of public policy attitudes and behaviors, including policies promoting government caretaking of vulnerable citizens Conover 1994; Thomas 1994; Rhine et al. Less is known, however, about male-female differences on one of the most salient "hot button" issues--crime. This gap is surprising for two reasons: The failure to appreciate gender-related differences pertaining to crime, therefore, undercuts the efforts of candidates to turn the issue to partisan advantage.

In this article we systematically examine how, and why, women and men approach issues of crime and punishment. Our first purpose is to explore the specific areas in which the genders differ. Next, we consider two competing explanations of these differences. The first of these hypotheses relates crime and punishment attitudes to gender differences in perceptions of vulnerability.

The second links these attitudes with the "different voices" approach espoused by Gilligan. Our findings support the idea that the gender gap in crime and punishment attitudes owes a great deal to differences in men and women's caretaking orientations rather than emerging solely from differences in their fears of victimization.

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It would come as no surprise to find that people who are more afraid of crime are also more supportive of efforts to prevent it. For example, individuals who feel particularly vulnerable might be more prone to favor increasing the power of the police or passing laws to make guns harder to obtain.

Those who are less afraid may be less likely to see the need for such measures. Perceptions of vulnerability may explain orientations toward punishment as well as prevention. If harsher penalties are thought to keep the public safer by deterring potential offenders, FN3 we would expect to find people's support for aggressive responses to crime to increase along with their level of fear.

Indeed, studies of attitudes toward crime almost all proceed from the notion that fear of victimization increases harshness for examples, see Miller, Rossi, and Simpson 1986; Research and Forecasts 1983; Stinchcombe et al. On this basis, those who see themselves as potential victims are expected to support policies such as longer prison terms and capital punishment more than those who feel more secure. If perceived vulnerability is the key to these attitudes, we would expect to find a gender gap in public responses to crime and punishment issues.

Women are made to feel more vulnerable than men in a number of areas of life.

11.1 Understanding Sex and Gender

Women have traditionally controlled a smaller share of political and economic resources than men see for example Goldberg and Kremen 1994. Large numbers of working women are concentrated into lower paying, low prestige jobs, resulting in widespread feelings of economic vulnerability see, for example, Sidel 1986.

Women are also more likely than men to need public assistance, especially if they are raising children as single parents see, for example Norris 1985. Women's lives are also profoundly influenced by the threat of physical violence, particularly domestic abuse and rape, in ways that men's are not Ferraro 1995; Walklate 1995; Gordon and Riger 1989. And, women are much more likely than men to modify their behavior because they fear victimization Ferraro 1995; Walklate 1995; Gordon and Riger 1989.

Women's lives rest upon a continuum of unsafety. This does not mean that all women occupy the same position in relation to safety and violence. Somehow, though, as all women reach adulthood, they share a common awareness of their particular vulnerability.

Learning the strategies for survival is a continuous lesson about what it means to be female. Conversely, men tend to have greater confidence in their ability to protect themselves Stanko 1990. This may explain why surveys invariably report greater fear of crime among women than men Walklate 1995; Ferraro 1995; Karmen 1991; Stanko 1990; Gordon and Riger 1989; Research and Forecasts Inc.

Women's greater sense of vulnerability therefore seems likely to produce a gender gap in crime and punishment attitudes.

Gender: early socialization

If fear is the primary determinant of such attitudes, women should be particularly supportive of crime prevention policies. Women's greater fear may also lead them to be more punitive than men, especially in response to crimes where woman are particularly vulnerable, such as rape or domestic abuse.

This would be consistent with Gordon and Riger's 1989: Given women's particular role in caring for children, we might also expect women to react with greater punitiveness when confronting crimes of violence against children.

A few studies have found women to be more supportive than men of some crime prevention policies, although there is not a great deal of evidence on this point. At least two surveys have found that women are less supportive of civil liberties which inhibit the ability of the police to catch criminals Rhine et al. Women also support gun control measures at higher rates than men do Shapiro and Mahajan 1986; Smith 1984.

It may be that men are less supportive of these measures because they feel less need for protection from crime.

  1. Thus, the different voices perspective suggests that women should be more supportive of crime prevention efforts than men.
  2. Data from Laumann, E. An Ethic of Care.
  3. Quite conceivably, women are more preemptive with crime because they feel more vulnerable--in ways which our instruments have not been able to determine. On the other hand, however, they are more likely to resist the use of force, as suggested by their stronger opposition to the death penalty.
  4. And, the ethic of justice emphasizes the need for punishment when the rules are broken.
  5. Here are some things that law enforcement might do to deal with the problems of drugs and crime in mostly black; white neighborhoods in the inner city. We have defined the first four policy measures 5-8 as "preventive," inasmuch as they are designed to minimize the likelihood of crimes being committed.

This relationship is unclear, however, because the link between fear and support for prevention policies has generally been assumed rather than tested. The empirical relationship between fear and punitiveness is even less clear. Though many studies have concluded that punitiveness varies with a person's fear of crime, their data reveal a connection for men but not for women see, for example, Ferraro 1995; Mills and Bohannon 1992; Stinchcombe et al.

In fact, men, with their lower levels of fear, are often more supportive of harsher penalties. For example, men are more likely than women to support the use of capital punishment for murderers Conover 1994; Shapiro and Mahajan 1986; Smith 1984; Stinchcombe et al. On the other hand, women do favor more punitive responses to rape and domestic abuse, and female jurors are more likely to convict those charged with violent crimes Mills and Bohannon 1992.

It is clear that further exploration of the relationship between gender, perceived vulnerability, and the desire to punish offenders is required. Considerations of crime bring up issues of vulnerability, but they also raise the specter of violence.

Women tend to view violence of all sorts more negatively than men do.

For example, women are less accepting of violence on television, corporal punishment in schools, and casualties in wartime Conover and Sapiro 1993; Smith 1984.

Women are also more, likely than men to rate violent behavior as seriously criminal Mills and Bohannon 1992. FN4 Men are more likely to support policies, such as military spending and military intervention, which involve the use of force. Men are also more likely to choose force in response to public disturbances Blumenthal et al.

It may be that women's greater discomfort with violence provides a common theme in their greater fear of crime, their greater support for crime prevention measures, and their resistance to harsher punishments. Gender differences in tolerance for violence relate directly to Carol Gilligan's theory of "different voices" in moral reasoning. Based on her dissatisfaction with earlier studies of moral development, FN5 Gilligan argues that there are two basic moral perspectives, or "voices.

Conversely, women's responses tend to suggest an "ethic of care," in which the focus is on "society as an interdependent and interconnected web of personal relationships; from this perspective moral or just behavior entails actively attempting to nurture and protect others and relationships among them" Worden 1993: At the base of the ethic of care is concern for protecting the vulnerable.

From this perspective, the morally responsible person considers the impact of her actions on those around her, beginning always with the "premise that no one should be hurt" Bender 1988: In this respect, Gilligan's theory of different voices suggests that there may be more to men's and women's attitudes toward crime than personal vulnerability because preventing crime is an important way to protect others from harm. Gilligan and others who argue for the ethic of care attribute men and women's different voices to socialization experiences see, for example, Gilligan 1993; Brody 1990.

FN6 They view gender differences as socially constructed, rather than as essential sex traits. Women encounter different social contexts from men.

  1. The major figures in the rest of the Bible are men, and women are for the most part depicted as wives, mothers, temptresses, and prostitutes; they are praised for their roles as wives and mothers and condemned for their other roles. The full regression models see Appendix B demonstrate the importance of ideology, income, age, and other considerations.
  2. The traditional image of the two-parent heterosexual family with the father serving as the provider and the mother as the homemaker is no longer the norm in many industrialized countries.
  3. The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this article and it is reproduced with permission. Some scholars attribute it to unknown biological factor s over which individuals have no control, just as individuals do not decide whether they are left-handed or right-handed.
  4. The relative importance of parents compared to other socializing agents peer groups, media, teachers, etc. In prehistoric societies, few social roles existed.

Women and men face different expectations and norms even for what look like identical situations. Female socialization experiences stress connection and concern for others from early childhood on Belenky et al.

As the ones who are taught to be the nurturers, nurses, homemakers, and 'kinkeepers in the family they constantly receive signals that they should be like their mothers. Boys, on the other hand, are encouraged to be instrumental and active like their fathers.

In contrast, boys' socialization stresses separation, independence, and autonomy Chodorow 1978; 167. Schools encourage boys to be more assertive and achievement-oriented than girls Bailey et al. Boys are also socialized to be more competitive; rather than concern for attachment, there is concern for "who's better than who, who's bigger than who, who's stronger than who" Stanko 19901: In addition, boys tend to be disciplined with more "power-oriented techniques" Mussen and Eisenberg-Berg 1977: They are expected to cope with it by becoming stronger, more self-reliant.

In the process, they learn the lesson that "safety comes from strength, backed up by physical ability" Stanko 1990: Adult experiences also contribute to gender differences. Men are expected to be self-reliant, and they are generally slower to recognize social interdependence Doyle and Paludi 1991; McClelland 1975. Women's worldviews are shaped by their greater caregiving responsibilities, for children Ruddick 1989; Elshtain 1981; Chodorow 1978 and for elderly and disabled relatives Hooyman and Gonyea 1995; Brody 1990.

  • As in Conover and Sapiro's 1993 study of attitudes toward war, we do not find women and men in wholly different camps;
  • The Development of Self, Voice and Mind;
  • Meanwhile, Barrie Thorne 1993 spent many months in two different working-class communities in California and Michigan observing fourth and fifth graders sit in class and lunchrooms and play on the school playgrounds;
  • Social, emotional, and personality development, 6th ed;
  • Psychological Theory and Women's Development.

As Hooyman and Gonyea 1995: Differences in orientation are apparent by gender in attitudes toward a variety of public policy issues. Women are consistently more supportive of "compassion" policies in ways that conform to the ethic of care. Women express greater sympathy for the disadvantaged Conover 1994leading greater numbers of women to favor public expenditures for social welfare, education, and health care Rhine et al.

Related to this concern for the disadvantaged is women's heightened sensitivity to inequality based on race and ethnicity, which leads women to be more supportive of government efforts to protect racial and ethnic minorities Rhine et al.

Women are also more likely than men to support environmental regulations, the 55 mile an hour speed limit, mandatory seat belt use, and consumer protection laws Shapiro and Mahajan 1986. All these programs are designed to afford protection and avoid harm, which links them thematically to the caretaking that underlies women's greater support for compassion policies.

We might expect gender differences toward crime and punishment policies to reflect similar themes. Efforts to prevent crime tap into the same constellation of values that underlie the ethic of care.

Controlling crime is one of the best ways to protect the vulnerable and prevent victimization. Crime is also a serious disturbance in the web of relational connections; it threatens the safety of neighborhoods that Shapiro and Mahajan 1986 find to be so important to women's policy preferences.

This makes it likely that women, with their greater concern for preventing harm, will put the most emphasis on prevention as the answer to crime. Stopping crime before it starts is the best way to keep people from getting hurt.

For many men, on the other hand, the ethic of justice is premised on individual rights and conformity to rules. Efforts to prevent crimes, such as gun control or expanding police powers, may conflict with the ethic of justice's emphasis on individual autonomy by allowing the state to interfere before a law has been broken.

Thus, the different voices perspective suggests that women should be more supportive of crime prevention efforts than men.