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The State We’re In: Ending Sexism in Nationality Laws

By: Equality Now

Home is where you belong, where you feel connected. 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. Imagine the daily struggle to get access to education, health, jobs, voting, a driving licence and other human rights, benefits and services that most citizens take for granted. Unfortunately, this is the reality for countless women and their families, despite repeated commitments by governments to ensure women’s equality by repealing or changing discriminatory laws.

Since 2013, there has been significant progress, both in terms of the amendment of discriminatory laws at the national level and the growing global movement for an end to discrimination within nationality laws. Several countries in Africa, including Togo, Madagascar and Liberia have made significant commitments to change, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the “African Commission”) resolved in May 2014 to address the issue.

We hope these reforms and steps to progress will inspire other nations and provide further impetus for change. We are also hopeful that, by 2020, the state we’re in will be one of equality under the law, safety and security for all.