A recent ideological revolution promoting women’s status has raised questions concerning determinants of autonomy and their implications for policy formation. This study seeks to identify objective indicators determinant of autonomy, and then examine their relationship in light of women’s subjective experiences of autonomy. Potential determinants include education, literacy, household size, age at marriage, employment, and socioeconomic status. Analyses are based on these data sets: the 2000 Bolivia Family Interaction and Children’s Well-Being (FICW) Survey, the 2000 Peru Demographic Health Survey and the 1997/1998 Nicaraguan Demographic and Health Survey. Our findings indicate that autonomy is multidimensional. Utilizing Structural equation modeling, we identify two major domains autonomy: decision-making autonomy and personal autonomy in Bolivia, and family autonomy and public autonomy in Nicaragua and Peru. This study shows that each of our specified determinants has some influence on autonomy, with education and socioeconomic status being the most important. We conclude that policies designed to change educational, economic, and familial characteristics of women will only have a modest impact on women’s overall sense of autonomy.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 21, 2005
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