Sunderland and England footballer, Adam Johnson, has been sentenced to six years in jail for "grooming" and "sexually touching" a 15-year-old girl. The grooming seems to have consisted of meetings in his car and exchanging text messages, some flirty but most innocuous. The sexual touching did not involve the removal of her trousers (something he was hoping to do on a future occasion.)
So far, so wrong.
But contrast with the case of Caroline Berriman, a teaching assistant who groomed and bedded a 15-year-old boy in her charge. She had sex with him 50 times (that's probably an approximation.) On conviction her sentence was two years' jail time - suspended! So she did not serve any jail time at all. This despite the fact she did have sex with the underaged boy, lots of times, and as a teaching assistant she was in a position of authority over him. The age of consent between teacher and pupil is 18, not the usual 16, so the boy was three years underaged, whereas the girl was less than a year underage in the Johnson case.
Caroline Berriman: Likes 'em young
Although both Johnson and Berriman clearly committed crimes, Johnson's was the lesser crime and yet he has been much more harshly sentenced.
This is not an aberration. The judge did not shake his pen and have too much ink come out. It is very common institutional sexism in which woman are treated more leniently than men for the exact same crime. It is a national disgrace and one that the public are beginning to notice in big way. A lot of the comments under the Daily Mail article about Johnson refer to the disparity in punishment.
It is about time equality cut both ways.