Post-industrial urban landscapes connected with neo-liberalism may provide novel opportunities for the emancipation of working-class women who were traditionally, like women of other social classes, largely subjugated to men socially and economically in the period of collective male-led unionization and manufacturing. Based on qualitative data, our interpretative study locates itself in an international field of criminality and illuminates the criminal practices of women connected with the criminal world of illicit drugs. Our contribution extends this field of scholarship into the culture of the West of Scotland. We identify through an intersectional sensibility of ‘doing femininity’ on the street and the nexus of a familial domicile, the ways in which women’s agency remains restricted, contrary to an emancipation argument. We conclude that their ‘liberation’ is negatively truncated for two reasons: firstly, criminality necessarily distorts freedoms and secondly, subtle ties with an overarching violent masculinity were retained.