Cathy Young on Disparities in Punishing Male and Female Killers

As usual, Cathy Young weighs in the July issue of Reason with an excellent examination of disparities in how male and female killers are treated by the American justice system.

Of particular interest is the fact that feminists almost never speak out about such disparities — in fact feminists have actively promoted the falsehood that a man who kills his partner receives only 2-6 years in jail on average compared to a woman who kills her partner who supposedly gets 15 to 20 years. In fact, as Young points out, studies find that men who kill their partners spend about 10 years longer in jail than do women who kill their partners.

As Young writes,

As a result, if a man commits a violent crime against a woman and gets off lightly, an outcry from women?s groups often follows. If it?s the other way round, the only vocal protests are likely to come from the victim?s family and from prosecutors.

The Working case [where a woman received a one day sentence for luring her estranged husband into an ambush and tried to murder him], like the Wagshall case, received minimal publicity. Imagine the reaction if a judge had said publicly that a man who had ambushed and shot his estranged wife should have been spared prison because he was depressed over the divorce.

Of course that would require a real commitment to sexual equality which, so far, many women’s groups are opposed to.


License to Kill
Men and women, crime and punishment
. Cathy Young, Reason, July 2002.

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