Causes And Patterns Of Female Criminality; A Criminological Analysis

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

Causes And Patterns Of Female Criminality; A Criminological Analysis


This study investigated the causes and patterns of female criminality, using criminological analysis. The origin of Criminology was devoted to studying “criminal man”, which means that crime is primarily regarded as men’s activity, ignoring the fact that women can perpetrate crime as well, even though at varying intensities and/or gravities. Yet, increasing complexity andindustrialization of the modern societies are accompanied with the corresponding rise in female criminality. This trend calls for a shift in research frontiers from studying “criminal man” to also include how and why crime is on the increase among female population in order to chart a viable policy on crime prevention and control in Nigeria. Therefore, this paper aimed to examine the variation of crime across gender lines and the rising crime rate among females in come up with a gender-based crime prevention policy. The study used secondary data and emphasis was placed on the current trend in female criminality in the Nigerian society. Liberation theory of female offender and situational crime prevention were adopted in the paper. The paper found out that crime rate among women is on the increase against family members and against the state. These offences include spousal murder, political corruption and terrorism. The paper suggested that policy on crime prevention and control among female should take into cognizance the role, position and experiences of females in the family institution, the legal and other social structures. Thus, female crime prevention and control shall include measures at the individual, family and societal levels.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title
  • Declaration
  • Approval
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content

Chapter One


  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Methodology
  • 1.8 Literature review

Chapter Two

Conceptual Clarification And Theoretical Review

  • 2.1 Gender, Crime and Female Criminality
  • 2.2 Concept of female crime
  • 2.3 Theoretical Framework

Chapter Three

Female Criminality In Nigeria And Policy Implication

  • 3.1 Female Criminality: Nigerian Experience
  • 3.2 Policy Implications-Developing Gender-Based Crime Prevention and Control on Female Offenders

Chapter Four

Findings: Nature and Causes of female criminality

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Nature and Causes of female criminality
  • 4.3 Patterns of female criminality around the world

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

Over the years, in every religious society, women have always been considered as physically and mentally subordinate and unproductive to men. The trend might have reduced somewhat in the 21st century due to the advent of media, women commissions, NGOs, human rights organizations, etc. but we find reports of widespread violence against the „creators of life‟, particularly in the backward and developing nations. This particular term paper would concentrate on The situation of female criminality; causes and consequences. Discrimination against the women is largely due to some inherent and common social and religious factors in Nigerian society.
The term female criminality refers those kinds of crime which is committed only by female. It was believed till a few decades ago that crime is predominately a male phenomenon and the world of crime is only a male phenomenon and the world of crime is only a man’s world. The criminal behaviour of women has been studied less than that of men. This is partly because women commit fewer crimes than men, especially violent offences, and also because female aggression is typically carried out in private and domestic areas.

In Nigeria, discrimination against the women is largely due to some inherent and common social and religious factors. Similar to their Indian and Pakistani counterparts (Muslims and non-Muslims alike), the Nigerian women have been subjected to unjust local social taboos and norms. People still follow the ancient belief that women should only be considered as child-bearers and housewives and as a result they are discriminated against by parents, husbands and sons throughout their lives. The little attention that was given to female offenders usually was limited to three contexts: (i). comparison that understood women’s lack of involvement in crime related to men; (ii). studies of prostitution; and (iii) analyses of the depravity of violent women, the rational being that since normal women are passive, the few women who do commit violent crime must be sick (Curran and Ranzetti: 2001). But, in contemporary age, female criminality is growing attention towards the readers because of the nature of news published in popular media. The number of crime committed by female is increased in recent days because of the marginal nature of women, discrimination in family life and workplace environment and complex lifestyles (Islam and Khatun: 2013) and impact of popular media (Siegel: 2007).

Beginning with the biological theory of Lombroso (1898), elaborated in the psychological theory of Freud (1905, 1931, 1933), and modernized in the contemporary theory that women’s liberation causes female crime, a theoretical perspective has developed which claim that female crime is product of the masculinization of female behavior. Female criminals are more „masculine‟ than non-criminals females, biologically, psychologically, and socially. In social psychological terms, female criminal behavior is a concomitant of role reversal (Weis, 1976).

In Nigeria, women are involved in different types of crime such as: murder, child and drug trafficking, prostitution, suicide, adultery, theft, robbery etc. But in some cases, in occurrences of crime, women played as the partners of men or in some cases, both of male and female played indirect roles in crime commission. Generally, the crimes in which women hold responsibility are: family suppressing quarrel, abortion, affray, illegal black marketing, and corruption. According to the Child Act, 2013, the crimes committed by an individual or a group who are below 18 years are defined as Juvenile Delinquents‟ crimes. Relevant for this article, we considered the female offenders who belong to the age groups of 18 years old or more than 18 years. In the mid 1970s several factors converged to convince the public that changes were occurring in the rate and nature of crime among women and the female offenders also began to receive more attention during this time.

In early age the concept of female criminality was a unique matter to society because the society was male dominated and the women had a little scope to contribute with the works of men. The main duty was to house works and rearing children. As they couldn‟t go outside the concept of crime was unknown to them and they were frightened to do any illegal work. But due to the change of time and development in the field of science and technology the negative and dominating attitude towards women began to disappear. Women represent the fastest growing criminal population, growing by almost a third over the course of the 1990s, and almost a third of all incarcerated women report having been on welfare in the period just prior to their arrest. And yet despite this apparent dramatic increase in the criminal behavior of poor women, the study of women’s criminality remains in its infancy. Drawing on life course theory, however, some feminist scholars are taking steps to address this hole in the literature, and the most striking finding to emerge from the field of feminist criminology is that the best predictor of female criminality is a history of sexual or physical abuse victimization.

In the last few years, the rate of female criminality is increasing in our country in an alarming rate and women are committing new types of crime and most of their crimes remain hidden because it is very difficult for the law enforcement agency to detect them as they are adopting new policy for committing crime. The chief type of female criminality in Nigeria is drug trafficking, goods trafficking, status offender, hijacking, cheating, theft, prostitutions etc.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Female crime may be considered a crucial problem because of its impact on the upbringing of children and, the overall fabric of society. Moreover, compared to men, women are more God fearing, moral and tolerant. They are also subject to greater social restriction. Women participation in crime is very low.

Very often women criminals are themselves responsible for becoming victims of crime or deviant behavior. More often than not, the freedom and the redressal are sought, may be unintentionally, through behavior which is ultimately as resulted as ‘crime’. Thus, since a large number of crimes committed by women are due to their adjustment problems of interpersonal relations in family and are not due to their criminal tendencies or disorganized personalities, there is a great need for a flexible sentencing policy for female criminals. Since almost all female offenders are first offenders, and since criminal behavior is not a significant part of their life organization, their imprisonment and banishment from society fail to bring about the required change in attitudes and values inimical towards society.

Now a day in our society the female crime is increased day by day. Our society is male dominated. Female are deprived, discriminated and dominated all the sectors in our society. However, the broken home family, dowry related violence, all kinds of domestic violence, torture, oppression, exploitations are mostly related to instigate the female to committed crime. In all situation women are in vulnerable position. So, the field was chosen to know why the women criminal increase day by day and what types of crime are committed by women? In our country various studies shows the causes, nature and extent of male crime. But many types of female crime are not focused or totally neglected. It was believed that crime is predominantly a male phenomenon and the world of crime is only a man’s world. So, the main purpose of this research is to identify the causes and nature of female criminality.

1.3 Objective of the study

The main objective of this study is to examine the nature and pattern of female criminality, using a criminological analysis. My major objective of the study is how social economic factors and other factors lead a female in our social environment to involve herself in criminality.

The following are the specific objectives of the study:

  1. To find out the social cause of female criminality.
  2. To know socio-economic and other factors of female criminality in our social environment.
  3. To find out the pattern of female criminality round the world.
  4. To examine the nature of female crime in our social environment.

1.4 Research questions

  1. What is the social cause of female criminality?
  2. What are the socio-economic and other factors of female criminality in our social environment?
  3. What is the pattern of female criminality round the world?
  4. What is the nature of female crime in our social environment.?

1.5 Significance of the study

Man by nature is a fighting animal hence to think of a crimeless society is a myth. There is no society without the problem of crime and criminals. The concept of crime is essential concerned with the social order. It is well known that man’s interests are best protected as a member of the community. It was believed till a few decades ago that crime is predominantly a male phenomenon and the world of crime is only a man’s world. The subject of female criminality was totally neglected. No attention was paid to research on women’s crime which resulted in paucity of theoretical material on crime amongst women.

Female commits various types of crime. In this research i want to know what the natures of female crime are. In our society male are the head of the family and males are always dominating the female. In our family, female are not get priority for decision making. Also, females are deprived of many facilities. Female are not merely exploited they are victim of prejudice, discrimination, abuse, humaliatation and deeply held social beliefs that they and somehow ‘inferior’. (N.V, Dr Paranjape, Criminology and Penology.)

1.6 Scope of the study

This examined the causes and patterns of female criminality, using criminological analysis. This study is designed to investigate the causes, nature of female crime and what are the social problem occur in our society and what are the family and State role to reduce the female crime.

1.7 Methodology

The study is mainly qualitative in nature and is based on secondary materials (available literature). Mainly relevant theories of female criminality have been reviewed from available and accessible books, articles etc. Besides, data and information have been collected from available secondary sources such as journal articles, research reports, books, newspaper and periodicals. Furthermore, the contents has been analyzed descriptively and a comparative analysis of the theories has been done to describe the nature and pattern of female criminality.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

Above all, on the basis of the theoretical explanation of female offending in Nigeria, the following conclusions may be drawn up. Firstly, “female characteristics and participate i proposition of Adler’s masculinity many cases inconsistent in the context of Nigeria. Female are engaging with crime in Nigeria as a result of their repeated victimization inside the family or society.

Secondly, Rita J. Simon’s opportunistic theory inNigeria females have fewer opportunities to participate in the formal economic sector, which leads to committing violent crimes instead of property related crime. Thirdly, in case of reported crime, it is shown that females are committing severe crimes more than less serious crime. As a result, the chivalry theory is not applicable in the context of Nigeria. Lastly, familial conflict, increased separation rate, continuous victimization and disparity in the economic sectors forced women to marginal position in a society. Consequently, female is engaging more with crime than in the past. So, considering the findings of the study from theoretical perspectives, in the explanation of female offending, the marginalization theory of Chesney-Lind is more empirically valid.

The study acknowledged the fact that most of the crime prevention strategies suitable for fighting crime among male criminals can also be applied in tackling female criminality. However, the paper suggested some gender-specific crime prevention strategies for women can best tackle the problem of female offending in Nigeria. This is conditioned by the peculiar needs of women and the uniqueness of the underlying factors that instigate female offending requires unique, or gender-specific, policies for female crime prevention. For example, divorce may cause more frustration and depression to woman compared with the male who issued her the divorce and this may lead to negative over-reaction. That is why the policy implication made much emphasis on women’s right. Violation of women’s right is the experience of both lower-class and upper-class women in virtually all societies of the world and to prevent the tendency of deviation by conscious or subconscious response.

5.2 Recommendation

Crime situation in Bangladesh is very alarming. Crime is one of the most pressing social problems of the present world. Crime is a sociological phenomenon. Various socio economic factors including growing population, high poverty level, lack of education, lack of supportive mechanism, higher population to police ratio, ineffective crime control strategies, weakness of law, lack of public awareness about crime can be attribute to high crime rates. Crime is by product of such stimulates where it is an act or omission, which violates the regular laws of the state as well as norms and values of the society.

Existing laws and criminal justice system need to be reformed for crime reduction and control. Inadequacy and failure of reformative techniques, psychological treatment, clinical arrangements, drug availability in the jails and mismanagement have to be addressed for proper functioning of prison system and punishment.

To reduce the crime rate in Bangladesh, the following steps need to be taken:

  1. Strong parental supervision: Strong parental supervision is necessary to restrict children from committing crime and avoiding bad peer group.
  2. Ensuring fundamental rights to the citizen of the state: Food, clothing, housing, education, medical treatments are the fundamental rights. In need of these factors, people intend to do criminal activities to ensure his/ her rights. The state needs to ensure these rights to every citizen to restrict him/ her to do any offense.
  3. Economic development and eradicating extreme hunger and poverty: Though there is controversy hat whether the economically developed countries are less crime prone society or not, it is very optimistic that economic stability is always a very positive factor for a society which decreases the risk of being victim for want of money. Economic development also includes reducing inflation and price hike of necessary commodities like food, housing etc.
  4. Decreasing the rate of population growth: In an under developed country like Bangladesh, such big population is a huge problem for any policy implementation which stimulates to commit crime.
  5. Ensuring employment for all: Unemployment is a curse for any society. Many young lives destroy themselves by taking drug or committing other illegal activities due to frustration caused by unemployment.

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