Equal Rights for Women to Adequate Housing, Land and Property:
- are recognized in international law
- are still not recognized in all countries (whether in constitutions, national legislation, policies or practice)
- are related to marital property and inheritance rights which are often not recognized and often deny women their rights to their natal and marital homes
- are often blocked by customary laws, traditions and cultural factors, which are usually patriarchal in nature. Due to colonial influences and individual land registration processes, many customary laws have eroded over time; the forms of solidarity that used to exist and that protected women from exclusion, have now disappeared in various customs. Traditional values prevail even amongst judges and administrative officials, who often interpret statutory laws in customary ways, as a result of which women are deprived of the rights they should enjoy under statutory law
- are violated more frequently: women are affected disproportionately by forced evictions and resettlement schemes, slum clearance, domestic violence, civil conflict, discriminatory inheritance laws and practices, development projects, and globalization policies. When communities are forcibly evicted and moved to places with no sources of livelihood, men tend to migrate and leave women to fend for the family. Rape is used as a "tool" to forcibly remove women from their homes before and during forced evictions.
- are violated by additional actors: particularly in Africa and parts of Asia, women also face evictions by their spouses (upon divorce) and in-laws (upon death of their husband). The HIV/AIDS pandemic is only worsening this situation.
For an overview of all international human rights instruments related to women's
equal rights to adequate housing, land and property, see
Chapter One of UN-HABITAT's Rights and Reality publication