Global Fund for Women


Women's Nationality Laws Sweep Middle East 

Women’s quest for equality took a giant leap forward with the passage of nationality laws in Libya, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen and with initial steps taken in Lebanon. Nationality laws grant women equal treatment under the law and ensure that even if they marry a man of a different nationality, their children will not be denied citizenship in their own country. This legal guarantee is also critical to ensuring women and children’s access to basic resources, like education, health care and employment.

In July 2010, Libya passed Law 24, in which Article 11 grants children the right to receive their mother’s nationality. In October, Yemen amended Article 3 of its Nationality Law giving Yemeni women married to non-Yemenis the right to automatically pass their citizenship on to their children. The Palestinian Authority passed Law 42 allowing a Palestinian mother to register and pass citizenship to her children under age 16. In Tunisia, women’s right to citizenship was expanded and is now absolute without conditionality. Meanwhile Lebanon’s Parliament passed Decree 4186 granting Lebanese women’s husbands and children three-year residency terms that can be renewed.

Since 2001, GFW grantees have engaged in research, advocacy, media reform, and protests to support women’s full citizenship across nine countries - Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon,,Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. These victories were the outcome of the “Arab Women’s Right to Nationality” regional campaign led by our grantee partners with regional coordination by the Collective for Research and Training on Development in Action (CRTD-A) in Lebanon. With democratic uprisings sweeping the Middle East, the struggle towards equal citizenship continues and grows.