The concept of autonomy refers to people’s capacity to make free and informed decisions about their lives, enabling them to be and act in accordance with their own aspirations and desires, given a historical context that makes those possible. Women’s autonomy is often conceptualized as having three dimensions:
Physical autonomy (the freedom to make decisions regarding sexuality, reproduction and the right to live a life free from violence);
Economic autonomy (right to work and earn one’s own income, distribution of paid and unpaid work between women and men); and
Autonomy in decision-making (women’s participation in all branches of government, signing of CEDAW optional protocol, positioning of national machineries for advancement of women).