UNFPA Study on Bodily Autonomy

The United Nations Population Fund recently released a report “My Body is My Own”. The report is about women’s power to make decisions on their bodies. It also reported about the laws in different countries that support women rights in this matter.

Key Findings

  • Nearly half of the women in the world cannot make their own decisions on controlling their body. This mainly includes in using contraception and also in decisions about physical intercourse.
  • According to the report, in 57 developing countries where the data was available, 45% of women were not fully empowered to make their own choices.
  • 76% of women make their own decisions in controlling their body in southeastern and eastern Asian countries.
  • 50% of women make their own decisions in sub–Saharan Africa and south and central Asian countries.
  • More than 90% of women were deprived of their bodily rights in Niger, Mali and Senegal.

Key Findings about laws

  • Twenty countries in the world force the women to marry their rapist. In these countries the criminals can escape prosecution if he married the woman or girl he raped.
  • More than thirty countries in the world restrict women from moving around outside the home.
  • In some countries, in spite of constitutional guarantees, women enjoy only 75% of legal rights as that of men.
  • 71% of the countries guarantee access to overall maternity care.
  • 75% of countries ensure equal and full access to contraception.
  • The existence of sexual and reproductive laws did not depend on the income level of a country. For instance, the countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Mozambique have enacted laws that guarantee equal access to sexual and reproductive health care to both men and women in health care, education and information.

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