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Convention on the Nationality of Women (Inter-American)

Treaty

By: Governments of Twenty Pan American Nations

Date: 1933

Source: Convention on the Nationality of Women (Inter-American). Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776–1949, edited by Charles I. Bevans. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1969.

About the Author: The Convention on the Nationality of Women consisted of an assembly of representatives from the following nations: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States of America, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

INTRODUCTION

The representatives of twenty nations, at the Seventh International Conference via the Pan American Union, all signed a treaty acknowledging that a woman's citizenship would not be jeopardized if she married a man that was not a national of her country. Furthermore, the treaty established that a woman's citizenship rights would not be based upon her gender.

The Convention on the Nationality of Women convened in December 1933, and the delegates signed the treaty on December 26, 1933. The United States Senate acknowledged the signing on May 24, 1934; the U.S. president ratified it on June 30, 1934; and the signed treaty was deposited into the binding records of the Pan American Union on July 13, 1934. After its deposit into official record, the treaty became force (meaning law), and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly proclaimed its establishment, success, and significance on October 11, 1934.

The signing and enactment of this treaty—which directly addresses citizenship rights of women—acts a measure to help facilitate peaceful relations between nations. The nations involved are those aligned with the Pan American Union, which was originally established as the Organization of American States in 1889–1890 and renamed in 1910. The building of such an alliance, and the name Pan American, showed respect and levels of trust between these nations—those of North, South, and Central America. The creation of the Union coincided with territorial expansion efforts, particularly those of the United States with its occupation of Puerto Rico, the annexation of Hawaii, and the Spanish-American War in 1898. With the annexation and occupation of additional territories (by the United States and other countries), cultural misconceptions occurred, and with expanded communication and travel ability, many individuals began leaving their native countries and settling elsewhere. Hence, marriages between people from different nations were not uncommon, and in an act of good faith treaties like this one attempted to bridge boundaries between cultures and races. Interestingly, the delegates who signed this treaty were predominantly male—ninety-nine delegates signed the treaty and only three were female. The female representatives came from the United States, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

PRIMARY SOURCE

CONVENTION ON THE NATIONALITY OF WOMEN (INTERAMERICAN)

ARTICLE 1

There shall be no distinction based on sex as regards nationality, in their legislation or in their practice.

ARTICLE 2

The present convention shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties in conformity with their respective constitutional procedures. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uruguay shall transmit authentic certified copies to the governments for the aforementioned purpose of ratification. The instrument of ratification shall be deposited in the archives of the Pan American Union in Washington, which shall notify the signatory governments of said deposit. Such notification shall be considered as an exchange of ratifications.

ARTICLE 3

The present convention will enter into force between the High Contracting Parties in the order in which they deposit their respective ratifications.

ARTICLE 4

The present convention shall remain in force indefinitely but may be denounced by means of one year's notice given to the Pan American Union, which shall transmit it to the other signatory governments. After the expiration of this period the convention shall cease in its effects as regards the party which denounces but shall remain in effect for the remaining High Contracting Parties.

ARTICLE 5

The present convention shall be open for the adherence and accession of the States which are not signatories. The corresponding instruments shall be deposited in the archives of the Pan American Union which shall communicate them to the other High Contracting Parties.

In witness whereof, the following Plenipotentiaries have signed this convention in Spanish, English, Portuguese and French and hereunto affix their respective seals in the city of Montevideo, Republic of Uruguay, this 26th day of December, 1933.

SIGNIFICANCE

While treaties advocating the equal citizenship rights of women may have not altered the quality, stability, or equality of a woman's life on a daily basis, they certainly helped pave the way for future international and national legislation. Permitting women the right to vote, as well as guaranteeing that they would not lose their citizenship rights if they married a non-national, has allowed women to prosper on local and national levels. Women have staged strikes, fought in war, served as nurses, acted as international liaisons, and have worked alongside men to promote equality, justice, and harmony. The United Nation's Millennium Development Goals and its conventions on women are just a few examples of the progress, and attempted progress, that the world community is making to elevate the status of women and alleviate gender divisions that exist throughout the world.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Books

Peters, Julie Stone, and Andrea Wolper. Women's Rights, Human's Rights: International Feminist Perspectives. New Brunswick, N.J.: Routledge, 1994.

Williams, B. Women Out of Place: The Gender of Agency and the Race of Nationality. New Brunswick, N.J.: Routledge, 1996.

Web sites

Amnesty International. "Women's Human Rights and the Stop Violence Against Women Campaign." 〈http://www.amnestyusa.org/women/index.do〉 (accessed March 27, 2006).

Bora Laskin Law Library. "Women's Human Rights Resources Programme." 〈http://www.law-lib.utoronto.ca/Diana〉 (accessed March 27, 2006).

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