ABSTRACT

Feminist theory in criminology challenges male power and the patriarchal social structure. Feminist criminologists see the major division around which conflict emerges as inequality built on either real or socially constructed differences between men and women. In either case, a patriarchal power structure results, which is harmful and oppressive to women. Patriarchy is the “law of the father” in which male activities and accomplishments are more valued than those of females, and in which societal institutions, from the family to the factory, are structured to privilege men. Feminists point out that within our patriarchal power structures men commit 80 percent of the serious crimes and that this overriding fact needs to be explained.