The Gender Gap in Offending

Various studies have established that men are more involved in criminal activities than their female counterparts. In this regard, the outcome is commonly known as the gender gap in offending and explains the enormous disparity between the significant male and female population in federal prisons. In 2009, a study by Rennison highlighted the narrowing gender gap in offending and attributed the decline to a convergence attributed to an increase in female convictions. However, the study emphasized the lack of accurate findings on the violent offending instances involving women. In the same vein, the study failed to attribute the decline to critical aspects such as race, which influence the outcomes in the criminal justice system. For this reason, researchers should investigate the rising female convictions for violence because of their inability to portray accurate results that depict the actual gender gap in offending in the U.S. and beyond.

According to a recent survey by the Drug Policy Organization, more than 60% of women are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses. Compared to their male counterparts, who are mostly sentenced to federal prison because of their violent behavior, women serving time could have been vindicated if the same criteria were adopted in the criminal justice system operations (Drug Policy Organization, N.D.). The survey highlights an ethical grey area influenced by the need to associate women with violence to explain the declining gender gap offending gap in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Surprisingly, the study takes a deep dive and highlights how aspects of race affect women of color, who form a majority of the female population in federal prisons. Notably, the role of the plea bargain system discourages women of color from standing trial where they could have been acquitted due to solid legal representation (Estrada, Bäckman, & Nilsson, 2016). However, their economic status and the manipulative tactics deployed by the prosecutors pose a significant problem that hinders them from standing trial. From this realization, many women of color arrested for nonviolent charges end up serving time when their cases would have been in court and received favorable outcomes.

One approach that should be used to oversee the trial process in the American criminal justice system is evaluating the prosecutor’s powers and their influence in the court system. In many instances, prosecutors manipulate the defendants by creating a climate of fear, which discourages female offenders from facing trial in court (Rennison, 2009). Likewise, policymakers should review the draconian measures that expose female offenders charged for nonviolent crimes to harsh and longer sentences in federal prisons. It will be easier for scholars to develop accurate findings that depict the actual gender gap in offending in the world today.

Researchers should evaluate the rising female convictions for violence because of their inability to portray accurate results that depict the actual gender gap in offending in the U.S. and beyond. Notably, the declining gender gap in offending fails to demonstrate the role of racial attributes in the American criminal justice system. On many occasions, women of color are exposed to harsh conditions instead of their white counterparts, who can bypass the manipulation from the prosecutors. Hence, imposing various measures to contain the powers of the prosecution and uphold the integrity of the trial process will depict an accurate gender gap in offending in the U.S. and beyond.




Drug Policy Organization. (N.D.). Women and the drug war. Drug Policy Organization, Retrieved from

Estrada, F., Bäckman, O., & Nilsson, A. (2016). The darker side of equality? The declining gender gap in crime: Historical trends and an enhanced analysis of staggered birth cohorts. British Journal of Criminology56(6), 1272-1290.

Rennison, C. M. (2009). A new look at the gender gap in offending. Women & Criminal Justice19(3), 171-190.

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