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Report: Ending Sexism In Nationality Laws

A woman holding up a sign in a crowd

Imagine then what it is like to be born without a nationality or to be denied the citizenship of your mother, or at times your father, because of discrimination in the law.

Today, Equality Now released The State We’re In: Ending Sexism in Nationality Laws, the latest edition of our report documenting the harmful consequences of sex discrimination in nationality and citizenship laws, and calling on governments to end such discrimination.

Expanding on a 2013 report, which focused on sex discrimination in the transferral of citizenship to children and foreign spouses, the 2016 edition also includes an analysis of nationality laws in terms of equality in the right to acquire, change and retain nationality as provided for in international law.

Equality Now is very grateful for the pro bono assistance of law firm Latham & Watkins LLP through the facilitation of TrustLaw in analyzing legislation to further identify specific discrimination contained within.  

“Everyone has the right to be born with a nationality – safe, fearless, and free – secure in their human right to equally transfer, acquire, change, or retain it. There is no reason why over 50 countries should still have sexist nationality and citizenship laws that discriminate against women, potentially putting them and their families in danger. If governments cooperate, this is something we can fix in a very short time. Getting these laws working for women and girls will mean that society becomes safer and more prosperous,” stated Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director of Equality Now.

There has been progress since 2013: nationally, a number of countries have amended their discriminatory laws, and globally, the United Nations has taken up the issue through the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice and a target on eliminating discriminatory laws was included in the post-2015 development agenda.  

Equality Now hopes that reforms and steps to progress will inspire other nations to take action.