Undergraduate Journal of Global Citizenship


Citizenship is narrowly defined to mean legal membership of a political community, ascribing the same rights and duties of membership to all individuals. In practice, however, citizenship law can be a highly gendered enterprise, ascribing different rights and responsibilities and constructing women as second-class citizens. Though by no means unique to the region, discriminatory citizenship laws in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) are often grounded in the rhetoric of Islamic law. Therefore, the first two sections of this paper explore the two primary processes that gender citizenship law in Muslim-majority countries: one, privileging patriarchy (as male right/rule through family law), and two, privileging patrilineality (through legal processes of transmitting citizenship through paternal lineage). A qualitative analysis of Morocco and Jordan allows us to parse out these gendered dynamics of citizenship. The last section of the paper considers the use of Islamic law in both Morocco and Jordan regarding citizenship law, demonstrating that Islamic jurisprudence has been used both to legitimize discriminatory citizenship law as well as to argue for reform.



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