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 872 signatures
    Number Date Name Location Add a personal comment to ...
    872 Sat Mar 22 14:35:29 EDT 2014 Domenico Borelli Roma - Italy, ot , IT
    871 Sun Mar 09 21:37:12 EDT 2014 CHARLES FREEMAN COLORADO SPRINGS, CO , US
    870 Sat Mar 01 00:48:23 EST 2014 HEIDI STUBER LAKESIDE, CA , US
    869 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.
    868 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!!
    867 Mon Nov 11 08:51:18 EST 2013 jackie holdsworth barnoldwick, Select a state , GB
    866 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?
    865 Sun Oct 27 13:58:42 EDT 2013 Sian Green Chelmsford, GB
    864 Sun Oct 27 06:26:35 EDT 2013 Rosalind King Dahab, EG
    863 Sun Oct 27 05:57:54 EDT 2013 jane radford Poo, Select a state , GB
    862 Sat Oct 26 04:42:56 EDT 2013 Agnes Bradley Edinburgh, GB
    861 Fri Oct 25 23:05:44 EDT 2013 Elizabeth Montgomery Livingston, GB
    860 Fri Oct 18 20:28:17 EDT 2013 Bev Blundell Pemberton, BC , CA
    859 Wed Sep 25 04:29:17 EDT 2013 Kerry McFie FULHAM, SA , AUSTRALIA
    858 Mon Sep 09 12:22:19 EDT 2013 Samyaka Verma Winnipeg, MB , Canada
    857 Thu Aug 22 10:25:38 EDT 2013 Katie Heurter Omaha, NE , United States
    856 Thu Aug 22 10:12:40 EDT 2013 Katie Heurter Omaha, NE , United States
    855 Wed Aug 21 15:59:11 EDT 2013 Anonymous Wednesbury, ot , GB
    854 Wed Aug 21 04:09:25 EDT 2013 Sharon McManus Liverpool, ot , United Kingdom
    853 Tue Aug 20 21:13:39 EDT 2013 Tory McCrea Austin, TX , United States
    852 Tue Aug 20 19:41:51 EDT 2013 Char Fortney Clarkston, WA , United States
    851 Tue Aug 20 19:41:30 EDT 2013 Char Fortney Clarkston, WA , United States
    850 Tue Aug 20 18:00:01 EDT 2013 George Theobald COOKTOWN, QLD , AUSTRALIA
    849 Tue Aug 20 17:29:35 EDT 2013 Annie McCombs Kalamazoo, MI , United States
    848 Fri Aug 02 14:05:32 EDT 2013 Brock Dilling Pittsburgh, PA , United States
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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: