Baroness Hale gave the prestigious 2009 Alba Lecture on 18 November 2009 under the “Women and Children Last?: Gender, Childhood and Migration”.  This powerful and well received lecture is now available on the Supreme Court website In it Baroness Hale deals with the extraordinary history of the way in which nationality law has treated women and children.  This is what she describes as the attitude that men are the prime movers and the women and children follow with 
the luggage.

She highlights the fact that the UK Borders Agency do not know how many children with British citizenship are deported with non-citizen parents and have not done any race impact study.   This is, she suggests, because migration law clings to the assumption of the unitary family, with all members sharing the same nationality, living in the same country and following the male breadwinner.  Children are treated as appendages of their parents or as people having personalities and rights of their own.
The lecture traces history of nationality law relating to women and children.  Under English (and US) law a woman who married a foreigner lost her citizenship. Mothers could not confer citizenship on their children. This traditional view also impacts on asylum law and practice.  Baroness Hale discusses the question as to whether the Geneva Convention should recognise “gender” based persecution.  She then deals with questions about the citizenship of children, ending with a discussion of the impact of Article 8 in the United Kingdom.  Her conclusion is in these terms

But does all this mean that women and children can now be seen as people with their own citizenship and family rights rather than simply as members of the male breadwinner’s family? I hope so, but the Parliamentary answers quoted earlier [about the Borders Agency] make me wonder.

We are not aware of any video recording of this lecture.  We would, however, draw our reader’s attention to a fascinating 86 minute video discussion from 24 January 2008 between Baroness Hale and US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  This is well worth watching.