Global: Amend all sex discriminatory nationality and citizenship laws

Over the last 13 years, Equality Now has been calling for the repeal of all sex discriminatory laws; however, despite repeated commitments by governments to do so, sex discrimination persists, including in citizenship and nationality laws. Nationality is an essential step in helping individuals access a fair and decent life and their equal rights – to education, healthcare, work, marriage choices and much more. Women and men should have equal rights to transfer their nationality to their children and their spouse, but too often the laws governing citizenship are based on – and so reinforce – stereotypical roles for women and men. This not only denies equality to women and men, it also causes unnecessary suffering, vulnerability and harm to all affected by the discrimination.

This graph shows the number of countries where women cannot pass on their nationality either to their children--born at home or abroad--or to their spouses and the small number of countries where unmarried men cannot pass their nationality to their children without fulfilling additional requirements, such as pledging to provide financially for the child.

Consequences arriving from the inability, largely of women, to pass on their nationality to their children or spouse or can be very grave, including:   

  • statelessness (lack of citizenship)   
  • fear of deportation of children and husband
  • additional vulnerability of girls to forced and early marriage
  • increased vulnerability of women in abusive marriages
  • difficulties for women in claiming child custody/access on marriage breakup
  • lack of access to publicly-funded education for the children
  • lack of access to publicly-funded medical services and national health insurance
  • lack of access to social benefits
  • inability to register personal property
  • limited freedom of movement, including to travel abroad
  • limited access to jobs and economic opportunities
  • trauma and anxiety

Nationality laws are very complex, but removing any discrimination between men and women is straightforward and should be achieved through immediate legal reform.

This petition calls on the governments of the following countries to amend all discriminatory provisions in their constitutions, laws, regulations and policies that prevent women and men from passing on their nationality to their children and their spouse on an equal basis: Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brunei, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo (Republic of), Denmark, Egypt, Guatemala, Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vanuatu, Yemen.


Good laws that put women on an equal footing with men are necessary to protect and promote women's rights and facilitate their full social, economic and political participation. Legal equality gives women a level playing field from which to make their own choices, build their capabilities and realize their hopes and dreams, positively affecting the development of society in general.

We call on your government to amend, as a matter of urgency, the sex discriminatory provisions in your laws relating to nationality so that women and men may pass on their nationality to their children and/or their spouses on an equal basis and free from discrimination.
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  • 1-25 of 890 signatures
    Number Date Name Location Add a personal comment to ...
    890 Wed Jul 23 00:43:15 EDT 2014 Anonymous uae, AE+03 , AE Am a husband of u.a.e national and I really have a lot of problem in my relationship because of citizenship right 8 am thinking of going and taking my son with my but my wife she is desperate I know is More....
    889 Mon Jun 30 11:34:47 EDT 2014 Gordon Bear Ramsey , US Children are related equally to their mother and their father. Both parents should have equal rights.
    888 Fri Jun 27 17:16:51 EDT 2014 Havivah Sebbag Hillside, US
    887 Mon Jun 23 10:27:30 EDT 2014 Karin Klerby Blomqvist Stockholm, SE
    886 Sat Jun 21 03:08:10 EDT 2014 Anonymous Italy , IT My mom is kuwaiti national and my dad is from Syria . Why cant my mother pass her citizenship to the children
    885 Sat Jun 21 00:25:27 EDT 2014 Markus Rill Bretzfeld, DE+01 , DE
    884 Fri Jun 20 17:44:41 EDT 2014 Anonymous Toronto, ON , CA Women are our mothers sisters give her and her children rights for citizen ship it's not my mistake that I born in Kuwait don't punish me and my children if I married to a non national remove More....
    883 Fri Jun 20 15:31:41 EDT 2014 Amy Gilham Hobart, TAS , AU
    882 Fri Jun 20 11:40:30 EDT 2014 Katie Maloney New Richmond, WI , US
    881 Fri Jun 20 10:24:00 EDT 2014 Anonymous kingston, Select a state , GB
    880 Wed Jun 18 18:58:33 EDT 2014 Anonymous marue st, NT , AU
    879 Wed Jun 18 09:19:50 EDT 2014 Robin Wilson Belfast, GB+R3 , GB
    878 Wed Jun 18 08:57:28 EDT 2014 Terra Fox Grand Rapids, MI , US
    877 Wed Jun 18 07:42:23 EDT 2014 Anushe Noor Faheem Khanewal , PK+04 , PK Hoping to end it all!! Keep your work up Equality Now!! And let's believe that it's time for equality,now!!!!!
    876 Tue Jun 17 18:41:57 EDT 2014 Finlay Hunter Tayport, GB+88 , GB
    875 Tue Jun 17 14:29:57 EDT 2014 Annika Ljung-Baruth Burlington, US
    874 Mon Jun 16 21:14:22 EDT 2014 Maricruz Lopez El Paso, TX , US
    873 Mon Jun 16 14:15:44 EDT 2014 Alexis Maestre-Saborit Fort Myers, FL , US
    872 Sat Mar 22 14:35:29 EDT 2014 Domenico Borelli Roma - Italy, ot , IT
    871 Tue Jan 28 22:03:30 EST 2014 Adela Brent Q, AU Really democratic governments take meaningful action to protect girls and women against discrimination and violence. Enough is enough. More actions and less speeches.
    870 Sat Jan 18 20:32:27 EST 2014 giovanna giubelli d'Asso firenze, IT It's time to do the right,human,rational things,and now!!
    869 Mon Nov 11 08:51:18 EST 2013 jackie holdsworth barnoldwick, Select a state , GB
    868 Thu Nov 07 04:46:08 EST 2013 Anonymous fisguard, GB my daughter wrote a dissertation on fmg in the 1980's. has nothing changed?
    867 Sun Oct 27 13:58:42 EDT 2013 Sian Green Chelmsford, GB
    866 Sun Oct 27 06:26:35 EDT 2013 Rosalind King Dahab, EG
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    This petition will be delivered to the governments listed above.

    Equality Now has compiled a report illustrating the harmful effects of discriminatory nationality laws and our recommendations to address this issue, which has been sent to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. For more information and to download the full report: