International Women’s Day 2005: Women and Shelter


For the International Women’s Day, Habitat International Coalition supports all women fighting day to day for a place to live in peace and dignity.

Women are the primary users of their homes, they are responsible for maintaining them but they are often ignored in all areas related to housing, be it housing policy, urban planning, etc. In the studies that have focused on the issue of women and housing, it has been noted that women must be included in all aspects of housing policy. It is only logical that the most affected by housing be given the opportunity to actively participate in its definition and components. Women are also the ones to suffer most in the achievement of all aspect related to housing: in many countries, women cannot inherit property or if they can, they are prevented from doing so by customary rights or pressure from family members, rendering them essentially homeless.

The close association between women and housing is a central issue to both women’s rights in general, and to their economic, social and cultural rights in particular. A women’s right to adequate housing as “a place to live in peace and dignity” often is inextricably bound to the workplace, child raising, education, health, care for the elderly, and personal security, as well living conditions as a whole, including also emotion and psychological security for the family, particularly women and children.

HIC adheres to international advocacy to ratify and assess governments’ efforts to implement CDW commitments to promoting women’s equality as well as the Beijing +10 Political Declaration. Multiple efforts are required to implement the Platform of Action, specially referred to poverty reduction, health improvement, opportunities to economic upgrading and political leadership and reduction of violations of human rights.

In this day, HIC congratulates the systematic efforts of the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing to report on Women and Adequate Housing through regional consultations in five continents. Emerging themes show women’s struggles and alternatives to affordable housing, in contexts were women continue to face discrimination, violence, unequal access to land and housing, violence and housing precariousness.

Finally, HIC asks the bureau of the Commission on Sustainable Development to reinstate the theme “women and water” to the program agenda of CSD-13. Women mainstay sustainable development and should be recognized explicitly as active citizens with particular needs and assets.