Research Paper: Gender and Culture in Criminal

Pages: 7 (2421 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] So-called men's rights groups may offer more opportunity in redressing this imbalance in our criminal justice system, and that men be sentenced to death and executed in the same proportion as women. It would also be interesting to interview a representative of a men's rights association regarding this topic. Although not reluctant to call for equal rights for men in a wide variety of areas, so far it has not demanded these in death penalty cases, nor has American society as a whole. It is more likely that men's rights advocates would regard it as suicidal to add this cause to their agenda. Analyzing and contrasting how two different organizations -- both intent on achieving equal rights for men and women -- would respond to my inquiry would be fascinating.

Whether or not this generalization holds true for individual U.S. states or in other countries and on an international basis, shall be demonstrated below. Gender bias exists not only in criminality but also in arrests, sentencing, and carrying out of sentences. This would be expected in the United States, and in individual states and other nations. Texas and California are extreme examples in the United States.


There are currently five women sitting on death row in Texas, compared with eighty-six men, and proportionally 5.5% of death row inmates in Texas are female (TDCJ 2011). This is more than three times the national average of women on death row, suggesting that the Texas criminal justice system is slightly more balanced than the nation as a whole. Women make up just over 14% of the total prison population in Texas, so there is still a gender bias in both criminality and sentencing (TDCJ 2011). Though more balanced in some ways, the still-present bias and high overall numbers could both signal that Texas has a much tougher stance on criminality and the death penalty compared to the nation as a whole.


In contrast to Texas, California is very reluctant to hand down the death sentences and even more reluctant to carry them out. There have been only thirteen executions in the state since 1992, when the first death sentence since the reenactment of the death penalty in 1974 was carried out (CPF 2011). Currently, California has sixteen women on death row out of a total of seven-hundred-and-eight death row inmates, or about 2.25%, although this is still higher than the national average (CPF 2011).

Global Figures

Though specific statistics regarding the proportions of the different genders executed worldwide could not be found, an overview of information from Amnesty International yields some surprising results. Many of the countries in the world that still have the death penalty -- and much of the world has eradicated the practice -- are developing nations with highly conservative views on law or totalitarian regimes like China. Many of the countries that used the death penalty most heavily were Arab states or other nations with Islamic regimes (Amnesty International 2011). In many of these the number of women who are sentenced to death or actually executed are as much as twice as high as the number of men executed. This reflects a very different type of culture and society than he United States as a whole or in California or Texas (Amnesty International 2011).


The United States clearly has a system of values and ethics that is more lenient towards women, or that has problems carrying out violence towards them even when it is officially sanctioned and deemed an appropriate application of justice. Both Texas, which is seen as almost draconian in its use of the death penalty, and California, which is very lenient, have higher proportions of women on death row than the national average, but there are still far more men than women in both states awaiting the death penalty. Not all nations have these values, however, and in fact some it would appear that women are seen as more deserving of violence for certain transgressions than are their male counterparts. Islamic cultures that are more patriarchal and paternalistic toward women and Muslims face their own conditions and hardships in attempting to enter U.S. society, which supposedly believes in tolerance and religious freedom, but also cultural assimilation.


Amnesty International. (2011). Death Sentences and Executions 2010. Accessed 30 October 2011.

CPF. (2011). California Death Penalty Statistics. Accessed 30 October 2011.

Death Penalty Information Center. (2011). Accessed 30 October 2011.

Man in Terror Scare Says Woman is Lying (2002).

Rapaport, E., (2000) Equality of the Damned: The Execution of Women on the Cusp of the 21st Century 26 Ohio Northern University Law Review 581

Rapaport shows the disproportion in executions between men and women, and argues that there is, in fact, no equality for the damned.

Streib, V.L. (2001). Sentencing Women to Death. Criminal Justice Magazine, 16, 1-10.

Capital punishment is a controversial subject, especially in connection with women and one that most people wish to avoid.

Schmidt, G (2004). Islam in Urban America: Sunni Muslims in Chicago. Arab Studies Quarterly.

Streib, V.L. (1990). Death Penalty for Female Offenders, 58 U. Cin.L. Review, 845.

Report with numerical data on descriptions of women who were given the death penalty in each state since the founding of the American nation

TDCJ. (2011). Statistics. Accessed 30 October 2011.

Zogby, Jam's J. (2001) Arab-American… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Gender and Culture in Criminal.  (2011, December 7).  Retrieved August 23, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Gender and Culture in Criminal."  7 December 2011.  Web.  23 August 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Gender and Culture in Criminal."  December 7, 2011.  Accessed August 23, 2019.