Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

David Cotter




woman, empowerment, autonomy, reproductive rights


A woman’s empowerment derives from education, economic independence and political and social autonomy. Reproductive health is an extremely relevant and important concept for many reasons. Reproductive rights include basic elements; the ability to reproduce and to regulate fertility; proper prenatal care and safe childbirth; and ultimately optimal maternal and infant health outcomes. Gender inequality has become manifested in societies throughout the world as result of the lack of control over a woman’s respective fertility. While a woman’s unique biological ability to reproduce should be privileged and respected, it instead entails both additional responsibilities and even negative consequences for her progression in society. Procreation should be treated and upheld as a basic human right. Through the quantitative analysis of 215 countries and relevant indicators and the case-study comparison of reproductive health and rights in Uganda, Afghanistan, the United States and Sweden, I will argue that upholding reproductive rights is critical to a woman’s empowerment. I will also argue that a woman’s access to both proper education and healthcare in essential to her ability to maintain control over her life and develop to her full potential as an individual and as a participating member of society. Clear trends concerning the effects of reproductive control are identified which offers insight to the importance and relation between control of one’s body and women’s progression and status in society.