Friday, January 01, 2016

Women persecuted by the law? Don't think so.

The Daily Mail is running a story claiming that women were historically persecuted by the law here in Victoria. The evidence has been cherry picked. Two examples are given: an Italian migrant who killed a woman in 1937 but whose charge was reduced from murder to manslaughter, and a woman who was jailed for nine months for bigamy.

The statistical evidence paints a different picture, namely that it is women who have been more leniently treated than men when it comes to sentencing:
...the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 63.3% of men who were sentenced in higher courts received a penalty of imprisonment, compared to just 46.7% of women.

Women were also seen to receive more lenient prison sentences, with an average term of imprisonment of 42.4 months, compared to 60.3 months for men.

This apparent gender bias extended beyond penalties of imprisonment – one study found that male drink drivers generally received fines which were 9.7% higher than those received by women for the same offence, and received disqualification periods which were 22.2% longer.

In 2010, a study attempted to consolidate data obtained from courts to determine whether:

1.Women were less likely than men to be sent to prison for similar offences, 2.Those sent to prison received lighter sentences, and 3.Magistrates and judges treated offending behaviours and histories differently based on a person’s sex.

The study found that gender had a direct impact on a judicial officer’s decision to send a person to prison – and that men were 1.73 times more likely to be sent to prison compared to women.

It further found that men received slightly harsher prison sentences, which were on average 1.16 months longer than those received by women.

The researchers then considered the impact of factors such as a person’s prior criminal history, their decision to plead guilty, and the number of charges they were facing.

Again, they found that male and female offenders were treated very differently – a male’s criminal history was given more weight compared to that of females – and generally meant that they received a harsher sentence

There has been resistance to the idea that men and women should receive similar sentences. In the UK, for instance, judges were advised back in 2010 to be more lenient in their sentencing with women than with men.


  1. Women want the right to do everything and the obligation to do nothing.

  2. This bias towards women is a function of male chivalric delusion, and can be seen also in Australian education results. See here for a short report.

  3. Warren Farrell’s excellent book The Myth of Male Power has a lot of detail on the bias against men in American courts. Here's a link to my review of the book -

    (I'm afraid I don't know how to insert links in comments).

  4. With female crime increasing it may be time to consider increasing their sentences, especially if they aren't providing for children.