The notion of sovereignty is and always has been related to an entities ability to defend itself. To be sovereign one must have the capacity to set boundaries. The idea of individual sovereignty is no different. It is no coincidence that the notion of women's rights came about in the same decade (1850) as the Colt 45 revolver. Yes, there have alway been women who were good with weapons, but the Colt 45 was the first mass produced weapon that was easy for anyone to carry and deploy.
The video below of Dr Emelyne Godfrey on Suffragette jujitsu explores how notions of crime and punishment were changing in the 1800s and led to an interest in unarmed combat. Perhaps, as a society becomes wealthier it sees property crimes as less immoral, and crimes of assault as more immoral. Life had to become less "cheap" for people to want self-defense without weapons. Very interesting subject, much to think about. Check it out!