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By bringing together different scales national and internationalthe analysis presented in this article will also make it easier to understand the manner in which the feminist demand for reform circulated, as well as issues related both to the defense of this legal norm and the opposition to it.
In the xenophobic political climate of the United States at the time, the legislative change deprived women citizens of their nationality upon marriage with a foreigner. This legislative change marked the beginning of American mobilization against the loss of a right, with seasoned suffragist activists as its main actors.
It led — in the French case, for example — to an alliance between feminists and populationists, which resulted in the sought-after legislative change in Married women thus won the right to keep their nationality or change it, though this right nevertheless remained limited in the case of certain foreign women for example, those with German or Czechoslovak nationality. Denunciations of the situation of women nationals who had become enemies by marriage led to legislative change in Inthe Cable Act uncoupled marriage from nationality but included some limits and upheld certain racist practices of discrimination American women who married Asian men lost their nationality, for example.
Other countries also strove to favor the independence of married women regarding nationality: RussiaBelgium and EstoniaSweden, Norway and RomaniaDenmarkMarried women ConcordFinlandTurkey and YugoslaviaAlbania Like many other actors in this period, the feminist lobby sought to strategically champion the matter at international level, in order to impose change at that of individual states. At this point, feminist groups launched an effort to win a hearing for their demands.
The relationship between women and their national state was thus foregrounded and emphasized by the delegates, in order to release from the exclusively private sphere women citizens who wished to be recognized in their own, full individuality.
While their request that they be allowed to sit on the Nationality Commission as observers was denied, a delegation of feminist organizations was able to address a plenary session of the Married women Concord on 1 April. Voices seeking an international accord based on the regime of family unity also made Married women Concord heard.
The married woman is above all a mother. She could never be satisfied with a state of affairs in which the difference of her nationality separated her from her family and children. The idea of nationality must no longer evoke in modern minds the call to implacable struggles, and mortal antagonisms […] Marriage between beings of different nationalities, where each keeps his or her nationality […] is inspired by [a notion of] nationality defined in accordance with the spirit of Geneva. Since most state representatives held that nationality was a matter of national prerogative, the Hague Convention on conflicts of nationality law ultimately had little success and entered into force in with only the ten necessary ratifications out of 70 countries invited to.
To recognize this old idea in practice is to refuse to consider women personally to be citizens: it is to refuse them adult status. It is moreover to sanction a system with grave material and moral consequences that may deprive women of the right to vote and the protection of their own government at home and abroad.
The Assembly was careful not to take a position on the reports, arguing that its decisions had to be unanimous and that the content of the Convention was the most that could be hoped for. Inthe Institute of International Law IDI was divided over the question and sought to reach an understanding on the recommendations that were to be made to states. A report taking note of the various positions was transmitted to the League of Nations.
After being put to a vote, these recommendations were ultimately adopted by the IDI. And on the other hand, the act of imposing a nationality is not necessarily to violate the equality of the sexes. For, while one may allow that of proportional justice, the idea of equality must by contrast be deliberately excluded from the present debate.
The letter pointed out that:. The IMS was founded in the early s by college-educated social workers, trained in the United States to offer international services for migrants and develop social research relating to migration. The service, which had offices in several countries, was an early participant in the nascent international organizations League Married women Concord Nations, International Labor Organization. The organization, which had taken a rather reserved stance regarding demands for equality, approached the problem differently.
Neither of these theories properly situates the issue. Although very desirable in principle, neither family unity nor the equality of the sexes is capable of supplying the basis for international legal codification relative to the nationality of the married woman. Neither the feeling of attachment to her homeland nor the principle of the equality of the sexes, nor that of family unity offers a practical basis for solving the problem. The organization also proposed what was then an avant-garde alternative solution: dual nationality for married women.
More generally, this demand paradoxically called into question the omnipotence of the state in the domain of nationality, by setting it against the right of individuals to choose their nationality. By providing a legitimate framework for protest, challenging the asymmetry of the law made it more difficult for those who supported the unity of nationality within the family to defend their position.
Since the latter relied upon a moral principle of family unity inherited from religion and tradition, they had difficulty finding a legal justification for it among their stock of arguments. In Married women Concord end, when disagreements appeared, they were more related to the prospects that the question of the equality of nationality had opened up in other domains. As the debate d inconflicts once again emerged among feminist organizations and some groups left the committee.
They reaffirmed their desire to demand that the Hague Convention not be ratified, and to work towards an international convention for equality. Strengthened by the ature of a Pan-American convention that entered into force inwhich held that no distinction would be made between the sexes in matters of nationality Montevideothey urged the League of Nations via the delegates, of both sexes, from certain countries to invite member states to it in They also convinced the international organization to launch an inquiry into the civil and political status of women across the world.
A convention on the nationality of married women was eventually ed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in This affirmed the principle of the equality of men and women before the law in all matters concerning the acquisition, change, or retention of nationality. The convention entered into force one year later.
Home Journals Clio. Volume Emergence and circulation of a demand 2 As a fundamental contribution to the movement to codify civil law in the nineteenth-century, the Napoleonic Code of inspired many European countries and even imbued legislation on other continents. We also demand this right [to nationality for women] in the name of the very principles upon which the League of Nations is founded.
The main argument in favor of the recommended reform is a matter of sentiment. Profoundly committed to the Catholic doctrine on the unity of the family, [the Center] distinguishes its juridical unity from its psychological and moral unity […] this is why we ask that women be recognized as adults and citizens and be given the right to their country. Two theories have recently been set against each other: that of the equality of sexes versus the principle of the unity of nationality. The problem of the nationality of married woman cannot be considered from a theoretical point of view.
On the interactions between social and legal status in the colonial world, see Saada On women in the French case, see Weil Bredbenner The United States was not a member of the League of Nations but was involved in many international conferences. On the family as a political category and the familialist conception of the right of suffrage, see Verjus Varambon Many law theses were written on this subject, particularly in the s.
As Girard has shownthe International Council of Women attempted to mobilize its Married women Concord branch around this issue but the latter took little action in this regard. In cases where on marriage, a woman lost her nationality but did not take that of her husband. One of the first women lawyers in France, she was introduced as president of the International Council of the Committee of Women Jurists.
Van Dorp and other legally qualified women from Dutch universities. Jacques the recommendation was developed on the basis of two proposals from the Belgian and American delegations, both of which had been pressured by the feminists.
Question of the Nationality of Women. Aide memoire to the Secretary General, 9 May ALN, R, official document A. Bibliography Bredbenner, Candice Lewis. A Nationality of Her Own: women, marriage, and the law of citizenship.
Camiscioli, Elisa. Intermarriage, independent nationality, and the individual rights of French women: the law of 10 August French PoliticsCulture and Society 17 : Cott, Nancy F. Public Vows: a history of marriage and the Nation. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press. Della Sudda, Magali.
In Pratiques du transnational. Preuves, terrains, limitesed. Une perspective de genre sur une mobilisation transnationale. Dubois, Ellen Carol. In Globalizing feminisms,ed. Karen Offen, London and New York: Routledge. Eisenberg, Jaci. The status of women: a bridge from the League of Nations to the United Nations. Journal of International Organizations Studies 4 2 : Girard, Philip.
Canadian Historical Review 94 I : Georg, Odile. Guerry, Linda. Mobilisations transnationales. Monde sHistoire, Espaces, Relations 5: Jacques, Catherine. Paris: Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle. Kerber, Linda Kaufman. Toward a history of statelessness in America.
American Quarterly 57 3 : Married women Concord, Carol Ann. PhD thesis: University of Oxford.Dorothy. Saada, Emmanuelle. Les Enfants de la colonie. Sapiro, Virginia.
Women, citizenship and nationality: immigration and naturalization policies in the U. Politics and Society 13 1 : Verjus, Anne. Le Cens de la famille.Married women Concord
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