Criminal Justice System and Women

Criminal Justice System and Women

Question 1. Belknap writes, “The pressure of being a token within one’s profession is heightened by the responsibility borne of representing every other person of one’s token group.

The term token refers to moderately few women who are given top positions in a specific occupational setting. Irrespective of whether they are minorities, women, the handicapped and/ the old people, more often than not, tokens are perceived as being representatives the marginalized groups within the society. As a result, their beliefs, thoughts as well as actions are in some sense likely to be prejudiced as being classical of their specific social grouping. It thus follows that tokens must undertake their tasks in queer working conditions; conditions that are different from those of the other employees. As a result, the token status has both psychological as well as social implications.

Additionally, tokens do not have to work as hard as the rest of the group in order to receive recognition; they just have to work hard to have their achievements recognized, (Kanter1997). According to Kanter, a majority of the women confessed of situations which their capabilities more often than not were overshadowed by their individual physical appearance. This created extreme performance pressures. These groups also exhibited pressure by trying to make their masculine co-workers look good. The actions of tokens could not also be secretive because of their physical attributes as well as their visibility factors. To that extent therefore, their irony is that they keep their success to themselves. The token groups are more often than not faced with the choice of turning their rates of noticeability to their own advantage or using this factor to become socially invisible. By being socially invisible, they risk being overlooked. Tokens also face a number of challenges as Kanter notes that tokens are constantly reminded of the marginalized status. Although, such forms of social prejudice is an obstacle enough that hinders men from pursuing professions traditionally perceived as being for women, those that pursue them receive preferential as well as fair treatment. Concisely therefore, men are therefore able to pursue gender privileges that are culturally derived, Belknap (2007).

Question 2 . Researchers have noted that preferential and protective treatment is extended more frequently to white women than to women of color. Why is this? Who benefits from this disparity? Belknap refers to the veterans’ preference system as an example of institutionalized sexism. What does she mean by this? Do you agree with her analysis? Explain. Defend your position. Clearly state your position and then defend it using the course lessons, historical examples, contemporary events (news), real life experiences, and hypothetical scenarios.

Preferential treatment in one sense refers to giving special and differential treatment to certain groups of people depending on a number of factors. Preferential treatment is thus a form of prejudice and in extreme cases leads to cases of discrimination which perceives members of one particular group as being superior to the other group. Preferential treatment also results to cases of racial profiling which refers to the act of subjecting the people of color to unwarranted searches and arrests because they are perceived as suspect groups to societal vices.

Preferential treatment is given to white women over the women of color as a result of a number of factors. This unequal treatment is influenced by a number of factors; these factors revolve within and around either one of or the following factors: bad experiences, ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and environment among others, (Baron 1994). It therefore follows that there is no specific cause of preferential treatment in the society.

Stereotypes cause preferential treatment in the society. Stereotypes are acquired through the internet, television, the radio, books as well as music. These sources instill particular message about the people of color which leads to preferential treatment.

Unfamiliarity is also a cause of preferential treatment for the women of color. In one sense, unfamiliarity refers to what people fear they do not understand. For instance, if a person grows in a particular environment characterized by a particular race; it follows that the person may deviate to a change of environment. Therefore, unfamiliarity leads to preferential treatment in terms of color.

Selfishness and selfish beliefs is also a cause of preferential treatment that is accorded to white women. Naturally, man is a selfish being who cares about his own self at the expense of the other existing beings. If the value of respect lacks in our day to day interactions, then selfishness takes the center stage.

Environmental Factors are also a core cause of preferential treatment because human beings are genetically as well as biologically different. The physical environment we live in affects our minds and overall, our biology. Since, environmental factors are uncommon to all human beings; cases of preferential treatment thus arise.

It therefore follows that this disparity leaves the black women lacking opportunities in schools, in workplaces, in social places, in political arenas among others. The fact is that this form of disparity favors the white women socially over their black counterparts.

Question 3. Atkins and Hoggett identified three rationales utilized by the legal system in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to justify limiting women’s employment opportunities. These rationales were the perceived natural inferiority of women, threats to the physical and emotional well-being of children whose mothers worked outside of the home, and the expectation that women should marry and remain in the domestic sphere. To what extent, if at all, do these rationales continue to limit women’s participation into the public sphere? Explain. Discuss. Provide examples. Defend your position. Clearly state your position and then defend it using the course lessons, historical examples, contemporary events (news), real life experiences, and hypothetical scenarios.

Until recently, before the effects of modernization; women held a special place in the society. This place was not stated by some form of male prejudice which certainly did exist but it was stated by the needs of the society. It therefore follows that, the act of gestating was and still is a time consuming activity. Rearing of children therefore could not be undertaken in a day care center or a public facility. Public schools, nets of social safety as well as labor laws were nonexistent at the time. Overall, any forms of social organizations that did exist at this time were the family, the church, the temple, the mosque among others. Women were thus needed at home as a result of the lack of societal sophistication which basically relegated both the men and women to roles such as; men being equated to physical power and social managers where as women were equated to the tasks of child bearing as well as home power, (Jaeger,1994).

Atkins and Hogget recognized three methods utilized by the legitimate systems of the 19th century to justify as well as explain limiting the employment opportunities of women in society. These included the fact that women are natural inferior beings when compared to their male counterparts. They also proceed to state that women should play their traditional roles of taking care of the emotional as well as the physical well being of the children. Women should also get hitched and remain active participants within the domestic sphere. Today, these rationales continue to limit the participation of women in the public sphere. Very few women have come out of there shell and participated in the public sphere successfully. Some have fell out of their way because they could not resist the persistent criticism and nagging by their male counterparts and fellow women. However, it is important to highlight that a majority of them still psychologically perceive themselves and associate themselves to this inferiority.

Today, the laws of the land provide for at least, a 30% women representation in public spheres to achieve social equity. Today this percentage represents one third but in the coming decades with the ever increasing women empowerment may result to negotiation for the concept of equality in the public sector. Despite the 30% representation in the public sphere, it is important to note that the aforementioned traditional notions about the place of women in the society still shape and affect this figure as not as many women are willing to accept such public status. Overall, it is important to point out that in as much as the society is a catalyst to women inferiority, the women themselves have psychological issues which are barriers by themselves.


Baron JN, Pfeffer J. The social psychology of organizations and inequality. Soc. Psychol. Q.1994;57:190–209.

Belknap, J., (2007). The invisible woman: gender, crime, and justice. Belmont: Wadsworth

Pub. Co., 1996. Print

Jaeger, K. M. (1994). Male and female roles in the eighteenth century: The challenge to replacement and displacement in the novels of Isabelle de Charrière. New York: P. Lang.

Kanter, R. M. 1977. Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.