Ending Sex Discrimination Around the World

A new report by pro bono partner Equality Now sheds light on discriminatory citizenship laws in more than 50 countries.

February 16, 2016

Despite significant strides, sex discrimination persists. Indeed, more than 50 countries around the world have laws and policies that discriminate against women and girls, particularly in the areas of nationality and citizenship. Latham & Watkins conducted the legal research behind The State We’re In: Ending Sexism in Nationality Laws, a new report that details gender discrimination in citizenship and nationality laws.

Watch a short video to learn more about the report.

The report was produced by Equality Now, an international human rights organization dedicated to the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women. This organization combines grassroots activism with legal advocacy to achieve systemic change and to ensure that governments enact and support laws and policies that protect the rights of girls and women.

Without citizenship or nationality, individuals are often unable to access health care, jobs or education. They are unable to vote, drive or travel abroad. They may be deported or denied social benefits. In short, these people are deprived of basic human rights. Many governments also curtail women’s ability to pass citizenship onto children or change their nationality. Equality Now’s report will provide citizens and advocacy groups with an important tool to lobby governments to change discriminatory laws and policies.

“We don’t get to choose where we’re born,” notes Helena Potts, a partner in our London office who led Latham’s efforts to contribute to The State We’re In. “But where we’re born determines so much about the rest of our lives. It’s vital that women and girls control their nationality or citizenship, and not be limited by unfair or unjust policies. The best way to end sex discrimination is to get rid of any laws that say discrimination is acceptable.”

The report is Latham’s third recent, significant collaboration with Equality Now — in recent years we have also collaborated on the organization’s efforts to eradicate child marriage and sex trafficking.

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