Gender Inequality: The Case of Derivative Citizenship in Lebanon Open Access

Nocharli, Rebecca Marie (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/w6634409b?locale=en
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Abstract

Citizenship is a legal status that outlines the relationship between an individual and a state and marks membership in a political community. It is integral to societal life as it determines individuals' access to rights and privileges. Throughout history, the definition of citizenship and the provision of rights have evolved depending on national and temporal contexts. The question of how citizenship is acquired is one aspect of the topic that continues to be debated and to change within the frameworks of societies' current conditions and needs. Derivative citizenship is one method of acquisition, where parents transmit their status to their children, and its requirements differ based on country. The concepts above are examined within the contexts of Germany, France, the USA and Lebanon, especially with regards to gender through a literature review and a look at the history of citizenship acquisition laws. Mainly, all four countries limited the right to transmit citizenship to men until 1934; since then, however, the USA, France, and Germany have amended laws to extend that right to women. Lebanon has yet to enact gender neutral or equal laws in the arena of citizenship acquisition, despite many efforts by women's rights groups over the last two decades. Such gender inequalities raise questions about the state's gendered valuation of and expectations for citizens. Popular culture and politicians provide a different approach to the issue and blame the inequalities on Lebanon's reluctance towards integrating and naturalizing Palestinian refugees, which is seen as a side effect of liberalizing citizenship policies; however, the power of the patriarchal religious communities in Lebanon which runs parallel to the state's power as well as the concern regarding the maintenance of the population's fragile sectarian balance are more deeply rooted obstacles slowing the advancement of gender equality in the arena of citizenship acquisition through lineage. The implications of this explanation are complex and highlight the many approaches that can be taken to resolve the problem, while showing that there is no direct, simple solution, but always a compromise where various stakeholders will have to give up some power or representation.

Table of Contents

Introduction................................................................................................................................... 1

I. Citizenship Defined...................................................................................................................... 5

Citizenship vs. Nationality............................................................................................................ 6

Acquisition of Citizenship............................................................................................................ 8

II. Gender & Citizenship................................................................................................................ 21

Consequences of inter-marriages on women.............................................................................. 29

Women and independent citizenship.......................................................................................... 32

Gender and derivative citizenship............................................................................................... 35

III. Lebanon Country Profile & History..................................................................................... 37

Sectarianism............................................................................................................................... 41

Status of Women....................................................................................................................... 43

Personal status laws................................................................................................................... 45

Status of Palestinian Refugees................................................................................................... 47

Implications for the State............................................................................................................ 51

IV. Looking forward: Movements for equality in Lebanese citizenship...................................... 53

Movements for gender equality in citizenship............................................................................ 53

Secularization and the civil marriage debate................................................................................ 56

Possible solutions and complications......................................................................................... 57

Conclusion.................................................................................................................................... 59

Topics for Further Research....................................................................................................... 63

References.................................................................................................................................... 65

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