The Socio-Economic Correlation Of Female Criminality In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

The Socio-Economic Correlation Of Female Criminality In Nigeria


The general objective of the study was to describe the extent and type of female involvement in crime and analyse the type of crimes in which women have been most visible. A total of 23 questionnaires were distributed to respondents (inmates.) The location of the study was Kaduna State. The units of response were the female inmates in Kaduna prisons. This was because the female inmates were in a better position to furnish the researcher with the information needed on the socio-economic correlation of female criminality in Nigeria.

The result of the study showed that women in Kaduna state committed crimes traditionally attributed to women in the literature, such as stealing and fighting. There were indications that women were getting involved in traditional male crimes such as armed robbery and attempted murder and some actually committed murder. The findings showed that even though female criminality was on the increase, a comparison of the gender distribution of prisoners showed that they were very much underrepresented in the criminal population of the state.

Table of Content

  • Title page
  • Declaration
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables

Chapter One

  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 1.1 Statement of the problem
  • 1.2 Growth of female criminality
  • 1.3 Objectives of the study
  • 1.4 Significance of the study

Chapter Two

Literature Review

  • 2.0 General overview
  • 2.1 Perception of crime
  • 2.2 Gender and criminality
  • 2.3 Growth in female crime
  • 2.4 Theoretical framework
  • 2.5 Appraisal of literature reviewed

Chapter Three


  • 3.1 Research location
  • 3.2 Method of data collection
  • 3.4 The population and the sample
  • 3.5 Problems encountered
  • 3.6 Limitations of the study

Chapter Four

Data Analysis and Presentation

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • Bibliography
  • Questionnaire

List of Tables

  • Table 4.1; shows respondents’ demographic data
  • Table 4.2; showing occupational background of respondents
  • Table 4.3; showing individuals responsible for the inmate’s upbringing.
  • Table 4.4; showing whether the inmates depended on their family for sustenance.
  • Table 4.5; showing whether inmates were employed in a formal sector
  • Table 4.6; inmate income per month
  • Table 4.7; showing types of offences committed by the inmates
  • Table 4.8; showing factors that influenced the inmates
  • Table 4.9; year of imprisonment
  • Table 4.10; showing the criminal status of the prison inmates
  • Table 4.11; showing whether the inmates regretted their actions

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Traditionally, it has been argued that there has been so little research interested in the area of female criminality due to the fact that the number of females offenders have been so small and insignificant. But statistics alone is not sufficient to explain why female offenders are not treated as a social problem, (Smart Carol, 1976). If women are for some reasons less prone to participate in deviant activities than men, there is hardly a reason to omit them from consideration (Giddens 1997).

The non-challant attitudes towards the investigation of female criminality could be that the male gender has always been associated with criminal acts.

Male criminals such as terrorists, drug users etc are treated as rational, autonomous adults who have reasons for engaging in deviant or anti-social activities. Thus, a female thief is mentally unbalanced or her chemistry is disturbed or her husband made her to do it (Delmont 1980).

However, recent researchers like Giddens, Datesman, and Scarpiti have shown that women also commit criminal acts. Most of what we know about crime is based on prosecutions and convictions and it is not impossible that women commit large number of crimes for which they are not persecuted or convicted.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

Female criminality and delinquency are becoming more serious and more of a threat to the social order in Nigeria. The rate at which women are involved in criminal activities makes one stop to wonder what is really happening to the women folk.

Women are known to occupy the natural position in inculcating moral values in children, but with the rising trend in involvement of women in criminal activities, one is left to wonder the kind of future generation we will have as the engagement of the women is criminal activities makes them fail in carrying out their roles as the guardians of morality in our society.

For example, what would a mother with criminal tendencies do to her children or wards who indulge in criminal activities, since she is into it herself? Of course she’ll not see anything bad in what the children or wards do, thus crime permeates the whole society.

1.2 Growth of Female Criminality

According to Hauwau E. Yusuf, (2002) The general socio-economic condition that nurtured the increase in crime rates generally in the post independence era equally have the necessary impetus for the growth of female criminality in the country. Prior to that and amongst other factors, the difficulty in securing farmland in the rural areas brought about the migration of women to the urban centers. However, with the oil boom; this took a new dimension. It could be recalled that this phenomenon induced the expansion of the urban wage sector. The doubling of urban areas in the space of few years seemed to offer women more opportunities and hope for a better future. In addition to this, increased money in circulation in the urban areas have woman with no formal education the opportunity to take out a living form trading. What is more, expansion of infrastructure and the need for more manpower in the oil dominated economy resulted in women, who had formal education finding some employment in both the public and private sectors as clerical workers, secretaries, nurses and teachers. They even found their way into jobs which were exclusively male preserved such as lawyers, journalists, administrators, university teachers etc. (Oloruntimein, 1982). These increased opportunities, though still low when compared with those of men, contributed to the growth of female criminality. Inspite of this, it must be stressed that women formed a large chunk of temporary workers and are the first to be laid off in times of economic crisis and refreshment. Majority of them are employed in the service sector (both public and private), with only a minority employed in the manufacturing industry like pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food processing companies. They equally man the pumps at petrol stations, sorting of mails in post offices, cooking and serving the food at restaurants. (Hauwau E. Yusuf, 2002)

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of the study was to describe the extend and type of female involvement in crime and analyse the types of crime in which women have been most visible.

Specifically the study tried to:-

  1. Determine the socio-economic attributes of women in crime.
  2. Identify factor predisposing women to criminality
  3. Access if there is discernible pattern in the type of crime committed by women.
  4. Make recommendation on the reduction or elimination of female criminality.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The importance of the study is to redirect the line of explanation of female criminality. One does not need to be a feminist to assert that we live in a male dominated world. This is even more so far African were the image of the male still loom large in perception of issues, action and even the nature and type of research to be conducted. There is no saying that apart from most researches being male influenced, they are equally male dominated, with issue relating to women relegated to the background or taking a second place after those of the men.

However, even in the advance and industrialization nation of the world most especially in America, until recently, very little had been written about female offenders. What is more, fewer degree of advancement in education and intellectual development such nations are just focusing their search lit on involvement of female in crime, then for underdeveloped (developing countries like Nigeria, one would expect that such effort is also in its formative stage.

Therefore, a research of nature is justified in other to fill the obvious gap in the attention paid to female criminality particularly in relation to the available current literature and how the prevailing condition in the society could lead to female criminality.(Hauwau E.Yusuf,2002).

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This study has been able to look into the contributions of different scholars on the issue of female criminality. It has been able to relate findings as they affect the research problem.

The problem of the study was specifically aimed:

  1. To describe the extent and type of female involvement in crimes and analyze the types of crimes in which women have been most visible;
  2. To determine the socio-economic attributes of women in crime. And finally identify factors predisposing women to criminality.

The findings show that most of the female offenders are first offenders. This means that most of these female offenders find themselves in prison once in their life. But there is also a few cases of recidivist of whose frequency does not exceed three times. These recidivists could fall into the category that Lombroso (1894) termed the occasional criminal’ a more frequent criminal type who commits crime at the suggestion or by the influence of a male probably a lover.

Data collected revealed that the types of crime females are involved in are armed robbery, kidnapping, murder, theft, assault, cheating, drugs, criminal bridge trust, and conspiracy. But the crimes of which the respondents have been most visible are murder and theft.

Based on the findings, it was discovered that a high percentage of these female offenders resided in the rural areas. This is a good enough reason why they engaged in criminal acts or activities. The rural area is known for its homogeneity. Relationships are more at the inter-personal level, and the bond between individuals becomes strong that the. In the rural areas, everybody knows virtually what his or her neighbour is doing and as result one can can easily offend the other and in the cause of retaliation one gets hot. Civilization which is more evident in the urban areas has opened the eyes of many.

Bad company is another predisposing factor to criminality. Peer groups have great influence on individuals. When an individual continues to associate more with a group that sees the societal norms of offensive, the individual also tends to violate the values of that society. Hence, a good percentage of the offenders are introduced into criminal activities by their friends.

In addition to this, most of the female offenders were brought up by their parents. The family under which one grows up also affects his or her life. The type of upbringing one had during his or her childhood influence his or her behavioural conduct and adulthood. The inference here is that parents no more carry out their responsibilities of inculcating morality in their children. There is laxity in the socialize children. It also serves for religious and moral training. If the family does not carry out these functions, the resultant problem will be moral decadence. The above point seems to agree with the hypothesis that poor socialization process is likely to influence criminality in individuals.

Economic conditions are another contributory factor to criminality. Most of these female offenders are either in the informal sector or unemployed, thus they have no stable means of income. Even those in employment earn meager salary. Where would this get them, with the economic hardship that has befallen Nigeria? The frustration caused by this hardship is enough to make one commit murder.

5.2 Conclusion

The basic assumption of the major work on female criminality than seeing it as a physiological or psychological problem. For instance, from the findings, the educational level or attainment of the female inmates countered the argument Lombroso that female criminals look and behave like the primitive males that lacked formal education.

However, it does not mean that these assumptions are totally wrong in themselves. The various scholars must be credited for their attempt in trying to understand the issue of female criminality.

The main argument in this study is that criminality is caused by social factors and not biological factors. As such, there is a need to carry out a new study on women and crime. And to this, it is necessary to understand the assumptions made by the traditional to understand the assumptions made by the traditional writers and break away from them. Crime should not be seen as caused by factors within the female, rather, crime should be seen as caused by factors external to the females.

In conclusion, this study is not claiming superiority over the already existing literature nor is the argument absolute and perfect. The study is equally open to criticisms and modifications.

5.3 Recommendations

This project is not only meant to find out the type and factors that lead to female criminality. It also meant to recommendation because it is not only to study a social problem that matters, there has to be a way to study a social problem that matters, there has to be a way out of the problem. Thus the recommendation is in two angles:

  1. To the family which is the smallest unit of the society where socialization first begins and,
  2. The government whose policies affect the individuals in the society.

In as much as civilization has contributed to the decay of the family function, the family should still see it as its primary function to socialize children, to inculcate sound moral values in them. This sound start right from childhood.

On the other hand, unemployment causes a lot of problem in the society. The government should review its policies so as to create job opportunities for members of the society. All hand must be on deck. The government should review the salary scales of workers also. This should be done in such a way that the monthly salaries are able to meet the financial demands and obligation of individuals.

If there is anything the government can do to improve the standard of living of individuals in reducing hardship, the government should do it. At least this effort can go along way in reducing or curbing crime and female criminality particularly, in Nigeria. Thereby, giving the country a face lift.

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