Bodily autonomy, the ability for individuals to make choices about their bodies without fear, violence, or coercion, is not afforded to all people equally. Laws and economic and social barriers continue to restrict women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in countries around the world.

Just 55% of women have bodily autonomy, according to data from 57 countries collected by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Having bodily autonomy is measured by their ability to make their own decisions on issues related to health care, contraception, and sexual activity.

Here are five young women from around the world are who fighting to ensure that women have the right to equality, dignity, and respect for private life without discrimination.

  1.  Lolo Cynthia
    Cynthia, from Nigeria, stumbled upon opportunities to work within reproductive and sexual health when she was studying in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2009. While she was on a path toward pursuing medicine, she ultimately decided that she wanted to work to prevent women’s health issues rather than treat them.
  2.  Paxton Smith
    When 18-year-old Smith, then the valedictorian of the senior class at Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, Texas, got up to the podium at graduation in June, she ended up giving a different speech than planned.
  3.  Deja Foxx
    Foxx made waves at the age of 16 when she stood up for reproductive health care by confronting Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake at a town hall hosted by the health care organization Planned Parenthood.
  4.  Karin Watson Ferrer
    Ferrer is a reproductive rights campaigner and member of Amnesty International’s Global Youth Collective fighting for women to make decisions about their own bodies in Chile. She also started a platform with her friend called Que Se Sepa! (Let It Be Known!) where women can anonymously share their experiences with safe abortion.
  5. Martha Clara Nakato
    Nakato tested positive for HIV at the age of 14 after not having sex and learned that the illness had been passed down from her mother. Now the HIV advocate works with the Uganda Network of Young People Living With HIV & AIDS (UNYPA) to educate other young people about HIV risks and improve the well-being of HIV-positive people.

Read the full article about reproductive rights by Leah Rodriguez at Global Citizen.