Housing Policies Must Include Gender Equity

New research calls on U.S. leaders to make decisions informed by data to ensure housing justice for women

The brief, "Housing Justice is Gender Justice," sheds light on the racial, socioeconomic and gender-specific inequities that too often serve as a barrier to accessing safe, decent, and affordable housing for women, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and calls for the inclusion of gender in the consideration of current and future housing policies and practices. Its release comes at the close of Women’s History Month, and just days before Fair Housing Month begins.

"For far too long, housing policy decisions have failed to address the unique harms that many women face, stemming from their identity and personal characteristics," said Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. "We now know that gender and race are often the factors that determine whether women have access to safe, secure housing for years to come — and they can no longer be ignored."

"This report reflects what many women already know: housing insecurity is still an issue for American families and was only made worse during the pandemic," said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. "Urban League affiliates provide housing counseling services nationwide and can attest that women — and in particular black women — are more likely to struggle with securing and maintaining access to safe, decent and affordable housing. We need better data and targeted responses to these challenges, including addressing pay inequality and raising the minimum wage, expanding access to affordable childcare and paid family and medical leave, increasing the supply of affordable rental housing and pathways to homeownership, and strengthening enforcement of fair housing laws."

The research cites three areas for leaders to consider when improving housing access to women, including:

  • Closing the wage gap, which would allow women more options for affording rent or mortgage payments;
  • Improving socioeconomic status, a major indicator of whether women will have access to quality, affordable housing; and
  • Creating legislation at the federal, state, and local levels that reflect the housing barriers women face today and because of a history of biased policies.

The brief offers additional recommendations that Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration should prioritize, including adopting expanded legislation for fair, non-discriminatory lending practices, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act to build upon its housing statues, and expanding the Community Reinvestment Act — all steps that can be taken to ensure that housing justice is also gender justice.

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The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care, and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization with 90 affiliates serving 300 communities, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than two million people nationwide. Learn more at nul.org.

CONTACT

Gail Zuagar: gzuagar@nationalpartnership.org
Niambé Tomlinson: ntomlinson@nul.org

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

Media Contact

Gail Zuagar
(202) 986 2600
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