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#HousingMatters to Women and Girls

Updated: Mar 7



On the occasion of the International Women’s Day to be celebrated on 8 March 2024, partners of the #HousingMatters campaign will highlight the importance of adequate housing for women and girls. The International Women’s Day is a day to join voices with people and remind the world that women’s rights are human rights. It is about celebrating all women, in all their diversities, and their achievements, whether social, political, economic or cultural. The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’. This theme is based on the United Nations 68th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) priority theme ‘Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective’. The CSW68 will be held at the UN-Headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March 2024.



Under the umbrella of the World Urban Campaign, UN-Habitat and key partners will celebrate the International Women’s Day on 8 March and hold a session during CSW68 on 16 March on the topic: ‘Housing Matters to Women and Girls’. The objective of the session is to stress the key role played by housing in addressing poverty and empowering women and girls.


The #HousingMatters campaign was launched by UN-Habitat at COP28 in Dubai on 7 December 2023. The campaign is part of the World Urban Campaign, a broader engagement and advocacy platform led by UN-Habitat since 2010.


#HousingMatters is a global campaign to advocate for the recognition of housing as a fundamental right and need that shapes our environment, well-being, and the future of our planet. Currently, at least two billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe, affordable and adequate housing. The campaign is about raising awareness about the global housing crisis and showcasing solutions to address the multifaceted issues related to housing.


Housing is more than a roof over women and girls heads. Adequate housing is key to women’s survival. With less than 40% of women participating in the labor force globally, women and children are most often the victims of housing-related fatalities simply because they spend more time at home.


Housing is ta first line of defense for women and girls against climate change and health risks. A clean and hygienic living space promotes better physical health, reduces the risk of diseases, and contributes to improved mental well-being, allowing them to thrive in all aspects of life.

Stable, safe and affordable housing reduces the frequency of unwanted moves, mental stress or health hazards that lead children to experience education disruption. Well-connected housing allows children to access quality education.


As a result of discrimination and inequality, women and girls are disproportionally affected by the global housing crisis, living in insecure, undignified and unsafe conditions, at increased risk of homelessness and violence. In many countries, gendered property regimes often limit women's access to land and housing. Forced evictions and other violations of the right to housing, disproportionally impact women and reinforce existing inequalities, representing a significant barrier to gender equality.

To tackle the disproportionate impact of the global housing crisis on women and girls, a comprehensive approach is needed. Legal reforms and policy changes are crucial, including enacting laws against gender-based discrimination in housing, reforming property laws to ensure equal land ownership rights for women, and implementing anti-eviction policies.


Community empowerment plays a key role, involving grassroots advocacy for women's land and housing rights, the establishment of community land trusts, and support for microfinance programs tailored to women. Financial inclusion, education, and awareness programs are essential to empower women economically and inform them of their legal rights. Safe spaces and crisis intervention services should be established to address immediate needs, while international collaboration, data collection, and research initiatives are vital for fostering systemic change. Capacity building, through training for legal professionals and community leadership development, can further contribute to creating a more equitable and secure living environment for women and girls globally.


In essence, a combination of legal reforms, community empowerment, financial inclusion, education, international collaboration, and capacity building is needed to address the root causes of gender-based housing inequalities and ensure the safety and security of women and girls in the face of the global housing crisis.


Examples of actions include:


  • Legal Reforms and Policy Changes: In India, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act of 2013 includes provisions to protect the rights of women by ensuring fair compensation and rehabilitation during land acquisition processes.


  • Community Empowerment: The Huairou Commission's work in Kenya involves training women to participate in decision-making processes related to land use planning and housing, empowering them to assert their rights and influence community development.


  • Financial Inclusion and Economic Empowerment: In Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank has successfully implemented microfinance programs, including housing loans for women, enabling them to build and improve their homes while fostering economic independence.


  • Education and Awareness: The Women's Legal Centre in South Africa conducts legal literacy programs to educate women on their housing rights, specifically addressing discriminatory practices and empowering them to seek legal recourse.


  • Safe Spaces and Support Services: The Dilaasa Crisis Intervention Centre in Mumbai, India, provides shelter and support services for women facing domestic violence, including assistance with finding secure housing and rebuilding their lives.


  • Data Collection and Research: The Women's Property and Housing Rights Database in Cambodia collects gender-disaggregated data on land ownership, helping to identify and address disparities and inform policy changes.


  • Capacity Building: In Mexico City, the Gender and Urban Violence Observatory provides training for legal professionals, law enforcement, and community leaders to address gender-based violence and discrimination in housing, contributing to enhanced capacity for effective interventions.

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