Women as Equal Citizens: Advocating for Change in Muslim-Majority Societies

September 6, 2006

Women's right to equal citizenship is guaranteed by the majority of constitutions in Arab countries, as well as by international law. In many countries in the region, however, women are denied their right to nationality - a crucial component of citizenship. Women in the region who marry men of other nationalities cannot confer their nationality on their husbands or children. These laws undermine women's status as equal citizens in their home countries, preventing them from participating fully in public life. On September 6th 2006, Women’s Learning Partnership convened a panel discussion and launched an international campaign in support of a seven-country regional campaign for Arab women’s right to nationality in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco.

 Nationality is a case in point of how citizenship in this region is gendered...whether or not you are a national will determine very much whether you have the right to representation, whether you have the right to social entitlements, whether you're a full citizen or not. So when the laws in most countries in the MENA and Gulf regions say that a citizen is someone born of a father of that country only, this clearly says that the state considers that only men are real citizens. 
— Lina Abou-Habib
Executive Director, Collective for Research and Development-Action (CRTD-A)

September 6, 2006

Presented by

WLP IN COLLABORATION WITH

The SAIS Dialogue Project
at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies

Panelists: Lina Abou-Habib, Mahnaz Afkhami, Asma Khader, Amina Lemrini, and Azar Nafisi (Moderator).

Across the Middle East region, women are using grassroots-based, bottom-up, culture-specific methods to reform policies and legislation to ensure greater equality and social justice. Women's right to equal citizenship is guaranteed by the majority of constitutions in Arab countries, as well as by international law. In many countries in the region, however, women are denied their right to nationality - a crucial component of citizenship. Women in the region who marry men of other nationalities cannot confer their nationality on their husbands or children. These laws undermine women's status as equal citizens in their home countries, preventing them from participating fully in public life. On September 6th, Women’s Learning Partnership will convene a panel discussion and launch an international campaign in support of a seven-country regional campaign for Arab women’s right to nationality in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Syria.

WHEN
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

WHERE
Kenney Auditorium (map it)
Johns Hopkins University
School of Advanced International Studies
1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

Register Online

SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES

Lina Abou-Habib (Lebanon) coordinates the Campaign for Arab Women's Right to Nationality. She is Executive Director of the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action an organization that creates opportunities for women to learn and exchange information about women's rights through networks across the Middle East and North Africa.

Mahnaz Afkhami (Iran/USA), author and leading advocate of women’s rights internationally for more than three decades, is the Founder and President of Women’s Learning Partnership. She is Executive Director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies and former Minister of State for Women’s Affairs in Iran.

Asma Khader (Jordan), a leading advocate of the campaign to strengthen legislation outlawing honor killing, is a member of the Permanent Arab Court as Counsel on violence against women. She is the General Coordinator of Sisterhood is Global Institute/Jordan and former Minister of Culture.

Amina Lemrini (Morocco) is an Executive Committee member of the Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc and a Board member of Collectif 95 Maghreb-Egalite, a women’s regional NGO. She lectures widely on women's human rights issues, including reform of family law and the push for Morocco to adopt the optional protocol to CEDAW.

Azar Nafisi (Introductory Remarks), author of the acclaimed book Reading Lolita in Tehran, is Director of the SAIS Dialogue Project at Johns Hopkins University. She has written and lectured widely on the political implications of literature and culture and on the human rights of women and girls.




Registration Fees (Lunch included):

  • $15 before August 31, 2006
  • $20 after August 31, 2006
  • SAIS students: Registration free with ID. Lunch not included.

Register Online

 

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