This is a report about gender discrimination in nationality laws, the effects these laws have on women and their families and the process of reforming such laws published by the Equal Rights Trust in September 2015.
Twenty seven countries still do not allow women to pass their nationality to their children. The report documents the impact of this in two of the 27 countries – Madagascar and Nepal. As a result of the discriminatory nationality laws, children suffer a series of negative impacts. In addition to the inability to acquire citizenship, they are also unable to access a range of critical human rights such as education, health and work. In some cases, the children are stateless. Separately, their mothers often suffer a sense of guilt and helplessness. Women from disadvantaged groups such as racial minority women or those of disadvantaged socio-economic status are, together with their children, acutely affected. The situation is dire. Both political realities and socio-cultural discrimination act as barriers to reform.
Elsewhere, reform of gender discriminatory nationality laws has slowly been taking place and the number of countries which do not allow women to pass their nationality to their children is decreasing. The report examines two countries which have recently reformed their laws, Indonesia and Kenya. While implementation of law reform in these countries remains an ongoing challenge, the report argues that there are valuable lessons to be learned from their experiences. The report concludes in an optimistic tone, arguing that learning from these countries can assist in accelerating the rate of change.
Today, the global movement for the eradication of such laws is growing behind the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, which was launched in 2014. The Equal Rights Trust, a founding steering committee member of the Global Campaign, is publishing this report as a resource and advocacy tool to contribute to the movement towards legal reform.Download PDF