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:
i. Determine the socio-economic attributes of women in crime.
ii. Identify factor predisposing women to criminality
iii. access if there is discernible pattern in the type of crime committed by women.
iv. 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).