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Differences between male and female convict treatment in Australia

Uploaded by Rainmaker_2001 on May 08, 2005

Even though male and female convicts were transported to Australian colonies from 1788 to 1840, their experiences throughout this period were remarkably different. This essay will attempt to compare and contrast the experiences of both female and male convicts transported to Australian colonies from 1788 to 1840. L.L Robson states that, ‘between 1788 and 1840 over 24 960 female convicts and 122 620 male convicts were transported to Australia’ . Even though both male and female convicts suffered at the hands of their government, their experiences differed greatly. This could be seen as early as the loading of the convicts onto the transportation vessels, and also how these convicts were treated during transportation and the comforts afforded to them. Women were transported for petty crimes, such as the theft of food and clothing which were committed for survival, rather than social gains, where as the criminal acts committed by their male counterparts were more likely to be acts of violence or for social advantage. The types of punishments endured by female convicts for their crimes were more psychological and degrading than those endured by their male counterparts. The employment of male and female convicts highlights another area in which gender plays a significant role in the experiences of these people. The majority of female convicts were seen as unfit for hard labour and were required to perform domestic services and chores, where as male convicts were employed in hard or skilled labour.
By looking at the transportation of female and male convicts to Australia, from 1788 to 1840 many differences of their experiences on board can be found. The first and perhaps major difference was that women had to be separated from the males on board the ship. Separation was found necessary aboard the transportation vessels, as women were seen to be less desirable for marriage or work if they were found to be pregnant upon their arrival at Australia. It was stated by Surgeon White that, ‘during the First Fleet the desire of the women to be with the men was so uncontrollable that neither shame nor the fear of punishment could deter them from making their way… to the apartments of assigned seaman’ . By examining this statement, one can believe that it was the women who had to be separated, that they forced themselves onto any male aboard ship, and that the males aboard ship had...

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Uploaded by:   Rainmaker_2001

Date:   05/08/2005

Category:   History

Length:   7 pages (1,493 words)

Views:   4135

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