Crimes among Women and Minorities
Since the inception of the second wave of feminism in the 1970s, the crime rate involving women has escalated dramatically. The second wave of feminism posited that women should demand an equal share of opportunities in the labor market and other facets of life that are male dominated in this patriarchal society. In some cases these women were unable to wrest legitimate endeavors from the men in the society. The women who failed in this prospect decided to venture into illegitimate practices predominantly white collar crime and felony. This was a holistically new breed of women who attempted to conform to the changes around them hoping to cushion themselves from unemployment and its detrimental effects. It is unequivocally evident that there is a somewhat evolved breed of women who participate in major criminal acts in the world. These women have an absolutely different nature from the traditional women. They are attempting to fit into the facet that has been dominated by men by proactively participating in predatory crime. This is unlike the archaic mentality that the only crime women are capable is shoplifting and sexual crimes that were categorically represented by prostitution (Reskin &. Bielby 2005)..
Liberal feminism took the female world by storm and it was coupled the increase in the number of females who participated in white collar crime. This is because liberal feminism has placed them in a predisposition that is a prerequisite to white collar crime hence expeditious to women in crime. Women are able to climb the corporate ladder reaching unprecedented rungs in comparison to the past. Such women employ what we would loosely refer to as “vocational liberation” to execute white collar crime. They are placed on a platform that is analogous to that one the male is on hence they have the same capabilities as men to pursue a career in these forms of crime (Kelta Web Concepts, 2003).
In the light of the genre-role theory, women seem to commit crime from a rational perspective. They do this to fend for their families in lieu of competing against the males in the world of crime. The lack of employment opportunities translates to women delving into crimes to satisfy their gender-role. In the event such a woman has her pecuniary needs satisfied by way of employment, they exude stability instead of escalating in criminal behavior. This makes their approach to crime more straight forward since it has a direct linkage to the poverty index that is higher amongst women and minorities. This economic perspective is in tandem with women’s gender role and suffices to explain the reason behind their participation in criminal activities. It is therefore correct to postulate that the economic hardships engulfing women and minorities would drive them to committing crime. The trend is on the increase since there is an absence of job opportunities instead of availability. Therefore as long as there will be an absence in these opportunities, women will continue to engage in crime. They will do this in order to meet their gender obligations. This case is exacerbated by women being single parent. Such women find it harder to come across well remunerating jobs. They are limited by the societal expectations that would make men better candidates for their jobs. Most employers avoid hiring female employees since they perceive them to be shouldering a myriad of familial responsibilities. They visualize them as employees who would be missing more frequently from work due to attending to several domestic issues such as taking their children to hospital when they are sick. They also see them as objects of reproduction hence they avoid the inconvenience that comes with an employee staying away from work as a result of taking a maternity leave. They would therefore concoct excuses that would lock out such women from employment opportunities just because of the misconstrued gender roles (Jrank, 2010).
The strain theory is also a relevant way that would suffice to explain why women and other minorities are involved in crime. These to sets of people are the marginalized in the society. The societal structure therefore limits their freedoms as well as the access to resources. They are therefore constantly antagonized by what is predetermined by societal norms creating a degree of strain in their lives. In order to offset this stress inflicted on them, they are compelled to break away from this draconian status by attempting to go against the grain of societal norm. This would categorically make them criminals through their activities regardless of the nature of citizens they have been. Failure to conform to societal demands is a purely natural human instinct that is inherent in all individuals. Due to the economic limitation of minorities, and women, they always attempt to break free from this vicious cycle by earning a little more than the meager amounts they come across on daily basis (APSU. n.d). Such women and minorities have been found to be at the lowest rung in the salary scale. African American women earn 68 cents for every dollar made by a white male whilst Hispanic women earn 57 cents in the same case (Parks, 2007). This is a demonstration that the society deliberately oppresses the women and especially from minority backgrounds on perennial basis. They are therefore constantly attempting to move away from this low income lifestyle. This is the reason behind why a majority of women incarcerated come from the minority population. They lack opportunities that would enable them to satisfactorily fend for their families. This is the major contributing factors to why women are delinquent and it is aggravated by the gender role slapped in their face .
My theory that would explain the rise in crime amongst women and minorities is christened the: name Modernization Theory. This is a theory that focuses on the changes in the perception, expectations and policies that govern the society. These changes have been effected and implemented in small doses since the advent of industrialization in the 1800s. They have been embraced imperceptibly by both males and females in the society in a way so seamless that it seems normal and acceptable for one to commit unorthodox actions. The modernization theory posits that since industrialization men and women have been more aloof from each other. The society has become more patriarchal. The communal mode of economic production empowered women in the matrilineal organization making them even more powerful than men. The inception of a new mode of production that came with industrialization rips off women the clout they possessed: private property mode of production. In this form, men amass the capability to produce surplus making the society utterly patriarchal. Women become dependant on men since capitalism has separated the family setup through introduction of the new mode of production. In the event the relationship woman who is dependant on a man is terminated, she is thrown in a state of pandemonium. Not knowing how to generate income for herself, she stands high chances of plunging into delinquency.
This state of modernization also shoulders more responsibilities on the women than before. Women tend to console themselves by saying “ what a man can do, a woman can do better”. Women are socio-biologically less aggressive than men and therefore the archaic mentality of women being limited to petty crime was pertinent. However, women are now pressured by the demands of the society to perform to the point that masculine characteristics seem to be inherent in them. They tend to believe that for them to be successful in this modern world, they ought to be as aggressive as possible. This mentality is the blueprint quality that is inherent in all men. The end result is that women become more capitalistic and they would do anything for money to ensure their survival. The masculinization of women is one of the pillars of the modernization theory. The women therefore engage in activities that were initially restricted to males in order to cope with the changing times. They end up in places that were initially thought to be out of bounds to them. Eventually they take up masculine habits such heavy drinking that normally results in violent behavior and crime.
Modernization has resulted in the reforms and changes in policy hence some action are now considered a crime hence “assault”. With women having evolved into male like individuals, they a re involved in activities that at times may provoke confrontation in order to claim their ground or make a statement. They therefore find themselves engaging in assault and other forms of violent crimes in order to make ends meet.
In relation to liberal feminism, my theory seems to have loopholes in terms of women involvement in crime. The liberal feminism movement opened opportunities for women to access almost equal opportunities as men. Access to such opportunities translated to a bolstered pecuniary independence. With enough money to support herself, a woman has a higher tendency of becoming more complacent than men. She would therefore work towards bettering herself using the financial security she has acquired. This is unlike men who will want more and more of the money to the point of engaging in crime. This is all as a result of the findings that women normally have a more straightforward and logical reason for participating in crime than men. However, the theory suffices to explain why women have evolved into men like characteristics that has led to the change in mentality as to why they cannot be considered as innocuous any more. The advent of capitalism coupled with modernization is a clear reason as to why women are different in the contemporary society from the traditional one. The modernization theory challenges the gender role theory in terms of the part played by women in the contemporary society. Its definition of the women changes the landscape of sociology by redefining it to be akin to that of men. It therefore contradicts some aspects of the gender-role theory whilst complementing the strain theory. This is because it is in tandem with the postulation by the strain theory that social structures dictate the behavior of individuals. During the past 200 years, the social structure has dramatically transformed hence women were compelled to transform in order to conform to these changes. The process of adapting to these changes has plunged them into delinquency. This is a classical way of viewing the strain theory in comparison with the modernization theory.