Why Women Kill: Homicide and Gender Equality

Why Women Kill: Homicide and Gender Equality

Why Women Kill: Homicide and Gender Equality

Why Women Kill: Homicide and Gender Equality

Synopsis

Jensen shows that gender equality plays an important role in predicting female homicide patterns, & argues that increasing gender parity decreases women's homicide rates.

Excerpt

When we hear the word killer, who usually comes to mind? We imagine dark figures lurking in alleys, awaiting new victims, and brutal robbers who assassinate store clerks after looting cash drawers. When women are identified as homicide suspects or seen being arrested, we are shocked. Regardless of whether the victims are family members, acquaintances, or strangers, women who kill present a sharp contrast to the common image society holds of the homicide offender as tough, scary, and male.

Women do commit homicide. Although they do so at a lesser rate than men, women's homicide is an important component of society's experience with lethal violence. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics show that those who commit homicide are predominantly, but not exclusively, male. According to FBI Uniform Crime Reports statistics (FBI, 1996), 1,384 (10.3 percent) of the 13,466 people arrested for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter that year were women. Even though women are the minority of homicide offenders, women do kill.

Several compelling reasons exist to examine a group that constitutes such a small percentage of offenders. First and obviously, we should look at women who kill because of the seriousness of the crime and its repercussions; we should also examine victim impact. For every woman homicide offender, there is at least one victim. Thus over 1,000 persons every year are killed by women. In addition . . .

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