University Module Series Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Gender and Organized Crime

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Categories: Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: National Security Forces and Armed Groups
Year: 2019
Citation: E4J University Module Series: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Gender and Organized Crime. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, July 2019.

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Executive Summary

Developed under UNODC’s Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, a component of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, this Module forms part of the E4J University Module Series on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and is accompanied by a Teaching Guide.  All E4J university modules provide suggestions for in-class exercises, student assessments, slides, and other teaching tools that lecturers can adapt to their contexts, and integrate into existing university courses and programmes. The Module provides an outline for a three-hour class, but can be used for shorter or longer sessions.

Stories and narratives of crime communicate specific messages concerning gender. These messages concerning what men and women do, should do or should not do, are reproduced by all of us in the context of our lives. These messages are present in what we consume through the media, but also in our day to day lives and interactions with others. These messages may only partially or superficially discuss the experiences, challenges and perspectives, but rather focus on stereotypes that may be assumed as reflecting realities. Are the ways men and women are represented in crime true, or even valid? How do people’s own notions of gender shape the way they understand organized crime? Why is it that ideas concerning race and class are also such a common part of organized crime representations? In short: why should we care about gender when discussing crime, and particularly organized crime?

This Module answers these questions. It relies on theoretical concepts, examples drawn from empirical research and case studies to show the ways people experience and respond to crime depending on their gender. It also shows how gender and the way gender is performed and understood shape criminal justice system outcomes. In other words, men and women have different experiences. It should therefore not come as a surprise that these differences are also present in the way men and women experience the criminal justice system.