Last modified: 07 August 2016.
While equal pay may be the big issue for women in the States now, in Lebanon, we have not reached that level of the gender debate yet; women here are still fighting to pass on their nationality to their husband and children.
To this day, Lebanese women do not have the same legal entitlements to citizenship as men. If a Lebanese woman marries a foreign man, she cannot pass on her nationality to her spouse and, later on, to her children. This is not the case, though, for Lebanese men, who are fully entitled by the Lebanese law to naturalize both their wife and children.
This gender inequality is not only discriminatory, but it also denies women a basic human right.
There have been a lot of protests around this issue; a campaign called "My Nationality Is A Right For Me and My Family" was even launched to help women reach equality. Eqbal Doghan, head of the Working Women’s League, asked lawmakers to justify extending their own mandates while ignoring calls made by activists for more than 30 years for the equal citizenship law. Activist Maryam Ghazal also lashed out at politcians: “You’ve used sectarianism as an excuse to neglect children... Where is the justice in this?” she asked. “Who has more of a right to the Lebanese nationality: a child who was born and raised in Lebanon, or a child who was born and raised outside Lebanon and has barely any connection to the country?”
Officials argue that Lebanese women who are married to non-Lebanese men and who reside in the country should not be allowed to pass on the Lebanese nationality to their children because this could change the country's sectarian demography.