Twenty-seven countries worldwide continue to discriminate against women in their ability to confer their nationality on their children on an equal basis with men. Gender discrimination in nationality laws contravenes Article 9(2) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and can lead to statelessness when fathers are stateless or also unable to confer their nationality on their children. In addition, over 60 countries deny women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality, including the ability of women to confer nationality on their non-national spouses. Such provisions contravene Article 9(1) of CEDAW.
Women’s inability to pass on their citizenship to their children and spouses puts huge financial, psychological and physical strains on families, often resulting in an intergenerational spiral of destitution and depression.
Statelessness resulting from gender discrimination in nationality laws can have serious and far reaching consequences, often leading to violations of fundamental human rights. Stateless people face many barriers and obstacles: without citizenship or identity documents they may be unable to own or rent property, secure formal employment or access services such as public health care, education and social welfare benefits. Statelessness impacts individuals' ability to marry and couples' decisions to start a family.