Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Type

Restricted Thesis - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Dana Zartner

Second Advisor

Olivier Bercault


Citizenship rights are gendered in over 50 countries worldwide. Gendered citizenship laws limit how citizenship is granted to spouses of citizens, or how citizenship is passed from parent to child. These laws often discriminate against women or minority groups, and have the potential to violate a number of human rights. Based on three specific characteristics, gendered citizenship laws have maintained social order and are reinforced by incorrect internalization processes. Accordingly, gendered citizenship laws negatively impact the recognition of the international human rights of citizens, remarkably when systems are culturally patriarchal, when religion overshadows basic human rights, and when internalization processes are incorrectly implemented. These laws are issues in numerous countries around the world and mainly in Middle-Eastern and North African regions. For credibility and a hands-on approach to this project, Lebanon is highlighted within the case study section. Eight Lebanese women married to foreign spouses with whom they have children, were interviewed regarding the effect of gendered citizenship laws on their families. This affects much of their human rights as countries, like Lebanon, avoid correctly implementing international human right laws within their domestic laws. Through interviews with those affected, supported by secondary research, this project will seek to provide a more comprehensive examination on the three characteristics that feed into maintaining gendered citizenship laws parallel to incorrect internalization processes of human right laws. This project also addresses the injustices that families experience through a media advocacy campaign: Giving Birth To A Stateless Citizen. Well aware of the paradox that no individual can both be a citizen and stateless simultaneously, this applied project seeks to raise awareness about the issues that come from gendered citizenship laws and how it keeps many individuals in between and betwixt social statuses. This also sheds light on thousands of women who are the sole givers of life, yet cannot pass on their nationality to their children and foreign spouses in numerous countries, religion and social structures.

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