Gender Equality Glossary

The UN Women Training Centre’s Glossary is an online tool that provides concepts and definitions with gender perspective structured according to the thematic areas of UN Women. It includes gender concepts as well as international conferences, agendas, initiatives and partnerships related to gender equality.

The glossary is also available in Spanish and in French.



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A

Access and control over resources

This concept has three parts: resources, access, and control. The first, resources, refers to means and goods, including economic (household income) or productive means (land, equipment, tools, work, credit); political means (capability for leadership, information and organization); and time. Access and control have slightly different meanings. Access refers to the ability to use and benefit from specific resources (material, financial, human, social, political, etc.) whereas control over resources also entails being able to make decisions over the use of that resource. For example, women’s control over land means that they can access land (use it), own land (can be the legal title-holders), and make decisions about whether to sell or rent the land. Access and control over resources is a key element of women’s empowerment, and by extension, the achievement of gender equality. 

Source: UN-INSTRAW (now part of UN Women), Glossary of Gender-related Terms and Concepts

Accession

The act whereby a state becomes a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states. It has the same legal force as ratification. Accession usually occurs after the treaty has entered into force.

Adoption

Approval of the final text of a convention by the committee which wrote it. It is then open for signatures, ratification or accession.

Autonomy

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:

  1. Physical autonomy (the freedom to make decisions regarding sexuality, reproduction and the right to live a life free from violence);
  2. Economic autonomy (right to work and earn one’s own income, distribution of paid and unpaid work between women and men); and
  3. 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). 

Source: Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Annual report 2011. Women’s autonomy: From the margins to the mainstream.