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Crime rate is, in fact, regarded as one of the most demonstrative statistics worldwide when it comes to social life. Nobody can say exactly when there will be the end of the crime issue. Needless to mention that today, not only men are going gangs, more and more women are also stepping on the crime road. However, it is interesting to note that almost all studies, which were previously conducted, were on men because of the fact that female gangs were regarded unimportant. Moreover, when it comes to women gangs, it is obvious that today, it has become a significant social problem.

Therefore, this paper will examine the current research on women crime groups, drawing attention to programmatic and research needs. In addition, the paper will focus on different motives and reasons why women are going gangs, and, in addition, there will be explained some differences between women and men gangs.

Researches on Women’s Gangs

Today, there are three main sources of data concerning the delinquency and criminality of women gang members. They are: the reports of law enforcement agencies, field studies, and various at-risk youth surveys. In fact, these three sources tend to supplement each other, thus, offering a ground for making a number of conclusions regarding the offending of lady gangs.

When it comes to crime, there is a great deal of issues, which should be obviously taken into account. There are many crimes committed by men; nevertheless, female gang-affiliation has dramatically grown. Therefore, it is of vital importance to take a closer look at the women crime rate, because today, the number of the so called "girl gangs" is rapidly growing. 

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As it was already mentioned, since there hardly are any researches regarding female crimes, this issue was not of vital importance. Moreover, according to Spergel, for example, “girl gangs can be simply considered as a pale imitation of men gangs” (Spergel, 1995, p. 90).

However, it may be concluded that this lack of research was one of the main reasons why it was considered unimportant. It is interesting that it was only in 1980’s when the first issues regarding the female gangs were mentioned. Campbell (1984) in his book on New York gangs told about the problems of women gangs and the fact that such female groups do exist. Until recently, both journalists and researchers regarded gangs as a quintessentially men phenomenon. Therefore, women were simply the so-called “Sex objects or tomboys”, (Campbell, 1990, p. 166).

Nevertheless, still, there is a great deal of methodological problems with a lot of reports concerning women crime groups. It was in the 1980’s and 1990’s when both men and women crime groups proliferated. Despite the fact that the exact number of the female gang members can be rather difficult to ascertain, still, all sources claim those numbers to be really significant.

Different Motives and Reasons of Women’s Gangs

There are various reasons why women gangs appear and why different females want to join them. Generally speaking, Kimes asserts that women join gangs for the same grounds men do this. On the one hand, one of the key reasons why females and males join a crime group is the poor economic situation and the lack of money for the living. In addition, poor relationships with the parents, classmates, or people in general are also the major factors why females become aggressive and join a gang. Women also want to become a part of something, to belong to something. As a matter of fact, a gang can be an ideal place to receive love and care (Kimes, 2000).

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On the other hand, according to, a great number of ladies simply tend to nag their boyfriends to be sure that they will not be involved in one trouble or another. There are also women, who are nagging their boyfriends about the currently popular gang-style way of life. Moreover, there are also a number of females, who are reportedly nagging their boyfriends until the time the boyfriend gets out of the crime group (

Needless to mention that before, the female involvement in different gang groups was for some social and sexual activities. “The girls they can do the same things as boys” is another motive of joining a gang. Moreover, women do not want to be homemakers and moms any more (

One of the other reasons of joining a crime group is simply to be safe because, in general, female gangs protect each other, and when some of the group’s members are in trouble, the rest of the gang go to help them. It is interesting to mention that some female gangs even help men counterparts (Kimes, 2000).

Women gangsters suffered from domestic violence and/or were sexually abused in the past. A great number of women have run away from home and have entered the gangs to be protected from their abusive families.

It should be mentioned that joining a gang is not very difficult. But it is extremely hard to leave the gang, once you are its member. The other members simply do not want to let you go. Hence, it is obvious that a person has to overcome lots of problems to leave the gang. Nevertheless, there are many females, who used to be the members of the gang group, but managed to abandon. They have managed to give up with this, and now, they have a full-time job, raise children, and are often married. There are also those, who did not quit the gang and keep on committing crimes.

Differences between Women and Men Gangs

Generally speaking, men and women gangs differ from one another. Such differences, according to Miller, dramatically influence both the young members’ behavior and their chances of growing into conventional, mature, and law-abiding grown-ups. A girl crime group is allied or autonomous with a men’s gang. In addition, Miller asserts that the members of the girl gang are likely to be only a small part of the entire gender-integrated gang (Miller, 1975).

So, the main differences will be described below.

  • To begin with, one of the main differences between these two groups, according to Kimes, is that the female gang is less violent and often acts as men accessories, helping them commit various crimes. Women hide weapons, narcotics for them, commit burglaries, drive getaway cars, sell drugs; sometimes, they even do various sexual favors for them (Kimes, 2000).
  • In addition, according to the sociologists, the choice of weapons is also one of the major differences between these two crime groups. In fact, the majority of the females do not like weapons (Kimes, 2000).
  • Moreover, when talking about the differences about men and women crime groups, it is obvious that the second group is more inclined to property crimes and numerous status offenses.
  • The nationality also plays a significant role. Most male gangs are Italian, Muslim, Asian, African American, and Latin; meanwhile, the majority of women crime groups are African American or Latina. Of course, there are small numbers of Asian and white crime groups as well. It is interesting that both male dominance and autonomy, which are considered to be the ongoing issues for every women gang, vary with ethnicity. Gender expectations, as a sample, in every ethnic group are likely to suggest that the members of white and African American women gangs are more autonomous; meanwhile, the Latinas tend to be more subordinate to men. There is no global ethnic continuum, in other words.  Several factors regarding women autonomy and men dominance greatly influence all the members of the gangs, regardless the ethnicity. In fact, male unemployment or any other male incarceration, convicted of illegal economic activities, tends to take men from both African American and Latino households. Therefore, to support themselves and their children, ladies have to rely on their own forces and resources.
  • The other difference is the relationships between the groups. In fact, the majority of men crime groups, according to, do not want women to participate with them in any gang-related activities. Meanwhile, women, on the contrary, want men to take part in committing crimes (
  • Members of all gangs feature more things in common, no matter whether they are Latino, Muslim, African-American, Asian or White, than the members of women gangs (

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Therefore, men and women gangs differ; still, they have some things in common. It is interesting that since women are becoming more independent, often they simply do not need men. As a matter of fact, they raise their children in women gangs, supporting and protecting each other. As it was already mentioned, when one of the female members of the gang experience some kind of problems, the other members of this gang try to help her.

The role of women has changed; they do not want to be mothers or housewives. They can easily survive without men and enjoy their life simply having sex with men, but not more (Kimes, 2000). Today, lots of female gangsters tend to emulate males, claiming that they are not worse, even better, and can easily live without being protected and supervised by a man.

It is interesting that, for some reasons, it is better to be a female gang member than a male, because, for example, if woman pickpockets, she is likely to be given a warning because she is a lady. In general, police officers do not want to take women to the police station. However, it is obvious that this is true only when it comes to minor crimes, such as pickpocketing (Roy, 2012). Therefore, there is also one more reason why female and male groups are different: the ladies are better treated and they are often more forgiven. As a matter of fact, men are likely to get all the blame, even when women are guilty.

Unfortunately, we cannot see the whole picture of the women crime groups because there is a lack of researches. Hence, it is obvious that further studies are needed. The women crime gangs are a real problem of these days. Ultimately, they have children, who would also become gangsters someday. The youngsters are at risk for be involved in gangs, continuing a range of abuse and neglect into the next generations. Lots of gang females tend to become hard-core drug abusers, in other words, heroin users, referred to as "tecatas" ( It is obvious that the current growing tendency of female crime groups should serve as a so called “wake-up call” to the government, politicians, and community as a whole.


This research paper speculated on the issue of women gangs. The paper described the current situation with the female gangs, enumerated the main reasons for crimes and showed the dangerous psychological effects of crimes. Generally speaking, since there hardly were any researches conducted regarding female crimes previously, this issue was not of any importance. In addition, girl gangs were simply considered as a pale imitation of men gangs.

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However, today, people face a constantly growing tendency of women crime groups. There are many reasons for that. As a matter of fact, the main ones are the following:  bad economic situation, the necessity to grow children for the lonely mothers, the bad relationships with their parents or classmates, the desire to be cool or to be protected. It is obvious that the first reason is the concern for the mature ladies; meanwhile, the last reason is a key issue for various teenage crime groups.

When it comes to differences between female and male gangs, the following ones should be obviously named: the level of violence – women are less violent, the choice of weapon – females do not like guns, the race, and the relations of men to women and the women to men. Moreover, ladies are better treated, and the police can even forgive them minor crimes. Besides, men are more likely to be blamed for the things, which were committed by women. It should be noted that women do not want to be simple mothers and housewives, and, together in a group, they can live better, protecting and helping each other.

Moreover, it may be concluded that today, there is still a lack of theoretical background to fully see the whole picture regarding the female members of crime groups. Therefore, further theoretical studies are of vital importance. It should be mentioned that today, women gangs are becoming more popular and widespread. Statistically, one day, their children would also be gang members. Ultimately, the youngsters are at risk for evolving in gangs, keeping on the cycle of abuse and neglect into the following generation. 

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