There are few topics as emotionally charged as the issue of full citizenship rights for women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Today, in no country in the Arab world do women enjoy the same rights as men with respect to transferring citizenship to their children and spouses. This form of discrimination not only taints the family life of hundreds of thousands of Arab women, it also severely burdens their “alien” children and husbands, blocking their access to education, welfare services, career advancement, social and political integration, and cultural assimilation. Viewed from the perspective of the host society, an Arab woman who marries outside the confines of her respective nation-state transitions from the authority of her father’s house to that of an alien household. She is now ostensibly under the control of the cultural norms and legal codes of her husband’s homeland.
Hijab, N. (n.d.). Women are citizens too: The laws of the state, the lives of women. Regional Bureau for Arab States United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved May 17, 2011, from
The Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTD.A). (2004). Denial of nationality: The case of Arab women. Gender, citizenship, and nationality program. Summary of regional research. Retrieved May 17, 2011, from