Senegalese women can now transfer nationality to husbands, children

Former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. In power, he was keen to promote gender parity. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Senegal's parliament has overwhelmingly voted into law a bill allowing a Senegalese woman to automatically transfer her nationality rights to an husband and their children.

The bill was voted for "unanimously without debate" on Tuesday evening, according to the ruling party coalition leader Moustapha Diakhaté.

Ex-President Abdoulaye Wade mooted the law almost two years ago as part a re-election campaign strategy to promote gender parity in the country.

“We can not be agitating for gender parity and refuse to grant our women the right to transfer their nationality rights to their husbands and children,” Wade had argued at the time.

In his presidential campaign, incumbent president Macky Sall promised to defend the bill “in a bid to rectify this anomaly and contradiction”.

Mr Diakhaté said the new law solidifies Senegal’s place in the domain of gender parity in the world.

Over a quarter of the country’s lawmakers as well as cabinet ministers are women; a similar count is cropping up in the local government as well as directorships of state parastatals.

With the new dispensation, thousands of alien husbands and children have now become Senegalese citizens.

Prior to the new law, children born of Senegalese women and alien fathers were eligible for citizenship upon request after reaching the age of 18.

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