Background Note on Gender Equality, Nationality Laws and Statelessness 2015

  • Published:
  • Modified: Wednesday, 05 July 2017
Nationality laws which do not grant women equality with men in conferring nationality to their children are a cause of statelessness and a concern for UNHCR under its mandate to prevent and reduce statelessness. Sixty years ago, the majority of States did not provide equal rights to women in their nationality laws. This has radically changed for the better since the adoption in 1979 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). However, 27 countries continue to deny women equal rights to confer nationality on their children and over 50 countries maintain other forms of gender discrimination in their nationality law, including denying women equal rights to confer nationality to spouses. Today, there is a growing willingness and commitment by States to take action to achieve gender equality in nationality laws.