AT RAINBOW HOTEL,
I am deeply gratified to be conveying this message of support on behalf of my sisters in the Regional Women's Parliamentary Caucus to this illustrious occasion - the SADC Parliamentary Forum's 40th Plenary Assembly. The Theme this year is: Statelessness in the SADC Region.
For us, this is an important theme as statelessness cannot be discussed without looking at its direct impact on women and girl-children. Gender discrimination, the subordination and marginalisation of women, and feminised poverty are some of the crucial factors in creating and perpetuating statelessness and non-recognition of citizenship rights. Many countries still do not have gender-neutral citizenship laws. In the worst cases, women lose their citizenship upon marriage to foreigners, and are unable to pass on their citizenship to their children. In Africa over 20 countries, including some SADC Member States, still deny women the right to pass on nationality to a foreign spouse.