Punitive women? : gender differences in dissatisfaction with criminal courts.


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Past research examining punitive attitudes has largely ignored gender or relegated it to the periphery of most analysis. Prevailing assumptions posit that women should be less harsh than their male counterparts in their desire for the harsher sentencing of criminals. However, the present study finds that women are, in fact, not less punitive than men in their views of the courts. On the contrary, women are statistically more likely than men to say that criminal courts are not harsh enough. Using the 2018 General Social Survey for both bivariate crosstabulation and multinomial logistic regression, the following research examines the presence of gender differences between men and women’s views of the criminal courts and attempts to explain why women report the criminal courts are “not harsh enough” through interaction models. Differences in views among women are also evaluated, and areas for future research are discussed.



Feminist criminology. Crime. Punitiveness. Women. Gender. Criminology.