Refining the measurement of women's autonomy: An international application of a multi-dimensional construct


Journal Article (Review)

Women's autonomy has long been a central concern for researchers examining the social position of women in developing countries. However, little emphasis has been placed on the measurement of autonomy, despite its importance for assessing the validity of comparative research. In this research, we use confirmatory factor analyses to determine (1) whether items thought to measure autonomy in fact form a reliable measure of autonomy, (2) whether the relationship between multiple dimensions of autonomy are strong enough to justify a discussion of autonomy as a single underlying construct, and (3) whether comparative research on autonomy is possible between two countries (India and Pakistan). We find that our indicators capture four distinct dimensions of autonomy that are moderately related, and that, while the model structures replicate fairly well across the two countries we study, there are measurement differences that make comparative research challenging. © The University of North Carolina Press.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Agarwala, R; Lynch, SM

Published Date

  • June 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 84 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 2077 - 2098

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0037-7732

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1353/sof.2006.0079

Citation Source

  • Scopus