Complete the Sentence
The purpose of this study was to explore gender stereotypes involved with criminal sentencing. Previous research revealed male perpetrators of sexual offense crimes received greater sentences than female perpetrators when the victim was an adolescent of the opposite sex; however, the reason for this finding was unknown. The current study hypothesized that women might receive lesser sentences than men due to traditional gender stereotypes that women are seen as loving and caring; thus, the relationship between the female perpetrator and the adolescent could be perceived as consensual. I also hypothesized that the gender of the participants in the study could have an impact on sentencing. To test this, I used a survey with various crime scenarios varying the gender of the criminals, and asked participants to choose an appropriate sentence based on their own opinions. The scenario of importance involved a teacher having a sexual relationship with an adolescent student of the opposite sex. Results indicated that, overall, there was no significant difference between the severity of suggested sentences for the female perpetrator compared to the male perpetrator for a sexual offense crime against an adolescent. However, gender of the participants had an effect; results indicated that women (compared to men) were harsher towards the male perpetrator compared to the female perpetrator. This could be due to in-group favoritism where women prefer other women compared to men who are in their gender out-group. This study is significant as it suggests the relevance of gender stereotypes in law.