Women and housing, land and property

Women’s rights to land, property and housing are essential for realizing their rights to equality and to an adequate standard of living. Having secure access to land, property and housing supports a woman’s independence and autonomy, provides for her day-to-day needs and those of her family, and allows her to weather some of life’s most difficult challenges. Realizing women’s land, property and housing rights is an integral part of the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Prevailing gender inequalities both in public and private spheres undermine women’s ability to exercise of their rights to land, property and housing. Multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against women and LGBTI persons amplify such inequalities. Certain global trends—commodification and financialization of land, climate change, urbanization—are putting added pressure on land and natural resources, and the housing and livestock attached to them.

At the same time, normative and policy frameworks to protect and promote women’s rights to land, property and housing have developed at national, regional and global levels. Evolving guidance and jurisprudence have articulated the application of human rights standards.

Related publications, reports and resources

Realizing Women’s Rights to Land and Other Productive Resources, 2nd edition (2020), OHCHR-UN Women: This updated edition provides guidance for lawmakers, policymakers and other stakeholders on laws, policies and programmes to respect, protect and fulfil women’s rights to land and other productive resources.

Women and the right to adequate housing (2012): This publication provides an overview of the meaning, intent and implications of the human right to adequate housing, and illustrates obstacles to women enjoying this right worldwide

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context (A/HRC/19/53) (2011): Building on previous work, this report highlights progress to date and further efforts needed to ensure that women everywhere are able to enjoy the right to housing in practice. Recommendations to States, United Nations agencies and human rights are included in the report.

Tools, statements, and other thematic reports by the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing on women and housing