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Study by the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, “Women and adequate housing”, E/CN.4/2005/43, February 25, 2005


Critical factors affecting women’s right to adequate housing and land are lack of secure tenure, lack of information about women’s human rights, lack of access to affordable social services as a result of privatization, lack of access to credit and housing subsidies, bureaucratic barriers preventing access to housing programmes, rising poverty and unemployment and discriminatory cultural and traditional practices. The Special Rapporteur notes that a State’s obligation to eliminate gender discrimination is one of immediate effect and failure to do so constitutes a human rights violation. There is an urgent need to address multiple forms of discrimination that women face on grounds including race, class, ethnicity, caste, health, disability, sexual orientation, and other factors. An intersectional approach to gender discrimination is essential to address such multiple forms of discrimination faced by women.

II. Thematic findings

A. Violence against women

47. The regional consultations also revealed new areas of research, such as gaining a deeper understanding of: the principle of non-discrimination as reflected in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in addition to expanding on the housing and land rights dimensions of non-discrimination as traditionally understood in CEDAW; the precise meaning and application of substantive equality and the intersectionality approach, which can illustrate how adequate housing manifests differently for each person according to his or her age, economic status, gender, race, ethnicity, caste, citizenship, health, sexual orientation or other factors, and which can guide policy formulation on women and adequate housing, particularly for specific groups of women.

F. Multiple discriminations

63. It has been widely recognized that many women face multiple forms of discrimination, including on grounds of race, class, ethnicity, caste, health, disability, and other factors. In addition to the groups mentioned below, migrant women workers, women from descent- and work-based communities, domestic women workers, women in prison, sex workers, and lesbian and transgender women may face violations of their right to adequate housing because of their marginalized status. […]

69. The Special Rapporteur will provide a more complete list of particular groups of women who face multiple forms of discrimination and recommendations for specific policy actions in his next report.

Link to full text of the report: Study-SR Adequate housing-2005-eng