Access to housing, land and property is one of the principal factors determining the economic and social well-being of women, especially in situations of conflict and reconstruction when their rights are violated on a mass scale. Demographic changes that occur during conflict result in higher numbers of single women and women-headed households.
Even before conflict, women are disadvantaged when it comes to HLP entitlements. Land ownership remains largely restricted to men, both by tradition and law. Globally, men’s landholdings are almost three times the size of those of women. Inheritance is fundamental for the accumulation of assets, including land, yet often women and girls have fewer inheritance rights than men and boys.
Conflict makes these inequalities worse. Women experience the loss of HLP rights at every stage of displacement. When women are forced to leave their homes, finding a place to stay is critical to survive displacement and provide safety for their families.
Women also have different experiences of HLP rights in return situations. Women are less likely than men to possess documentary evidence of their land tenure and more likely to experience violence in relation to their dispute.
This session will feature cases from Somalia, Nigeria, Syria and Syria crisis to explore the concept of what can be secure enough tenure for conflict-affected women. In doing so, this session will go beyond reiterating the challenges for women to featuring good practice across different sectors of humanitarian response.
A range of relevant resources can be found on the following websites:
- The HLP Area of Responsibility webpages – resources for Displaced Women’s Housing, Land and Property
- NRC resources on displaced women’s HLP can be found here
- GLTN and UN-Habitat resources on gender and land
- The Global Shelter Cluster HLP pages
Specific resources include:
- Reducing GBV risks through better shelter programme design, Amelia Rule, Jessica Izquierdo, Alberto Piccioli, Forced Migration Review FMR55, 2017, available here
- Norwegian Refugee Council (2021) Stories of Syrian women, their family and property
- Norwegian Refugee Council (2021) Consolidating Gains – Displaced Women’s Housing Land and Property Rights in Africa
- Norwegian Refugee Council (2019) The HLP Rights of Conflict Affected Women in North-east Nigeria
- UN-Habitat/GLTN (2018). Land and Conflict. Lessons from the Field on Conflict Sensitive Land Governance and Peacebuilding.
- UN-Habitat/GLTN (2018). Women and Land in the Muslim World: Pathways to increase access to land for the realization of development, peace and human rights.
- (Video) – Understanding displaced women’s access to housing, alnd and property (HLP) in Somalia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBmN4ygzlWQ