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On International Women’s Day stand up for women’s housing, land and property rights!

SOMALIA, Buur-Hakba: In a handout photograph taken and released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support team 27 February 2012, women sell tea in the central Somali town of Buur-Hakba. The Somali National Army (SNA), supported by forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) captured the strategically important town on the Afgooye-Baidoa corridor in Bay region from Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist group Al Shabaab early this morning without any resistance, marking a significant loss for the group. The town, located 64kms east of Baidoa, was a stronghold of the Shabaab where they extorted high levies of illegal taxation on the local civilian populations and used it as a base from where they planned and launched attacks against government forces and installations, AMISOM and the Somali population. Buur-Hakba is the latest in a string of significant territorial losses for the extremist group to SNA and AMISOM forces over the last 18 months, which has seen their area of influence and control over towns and areas across Somalia steadily decrease. AU-UN IST / STUART PRICE.

Advancing women’s housing, land and property rights is a matter of urgency for closing the gender gap in the Arab states, today ranking among the highest in the world, and for increasing the resilience of communities against external shocks, including financial crisis, conflict, and natural hazards. This will only be possible if gender inequalities and politics of exclusion are addressed, making decision-making processes and institutions more inclusive, and ensuring that access to power, opportunities and services is shared equally among women and men.

Securing women’s housing, land and property rights contributes to rebalancing the power dynamics within households and communities and at empowering women to actively participate in decision making at all levels. Increasing women’s participation in decision making is a matter of urgency everywhere, but even more in fragile contexts where many women are the sole breadwinners and caregivers for those in need. The “Key Messages on sustaining peace through women’s empowerment and increased access to land and property rights in fragile and conflict-affected contexts”, developed from the operational experience of UN-Habitat, GLTN, the HLPAoR of the Global Protection Cluster, NRC, UNHCR and their partners, are a quick reference on how to achieve this and why it is an essential element to sustain peace and stability, as reaffirmed by the UN resolution on women and peace and security of 2000.

Securing women’s housing, land and property rights underpins the broader realization and enjoyment human rights and it contributes to the socio-economic development of societies. However, women in the region are often denied their rights due to discriminatory norms and practices, under the wrongful assumption that men, as heads of households, are the only ones entitled to control and manage land. For instance, many Arab women cannot inherit land and property equally with men, halting key aspects of sustainable development, justice and peace.

On International Women’s Day, and every day, we call upon you to stand up for women’s rights and advocate with us on the importance of protecting women’s housing, land and property rights to achieve tenure security and a better life for all people, without any kind of discrimination.

If you want to learn more about why it is important to protect women’s housing, land and property rights and on how to overcome the challenges that women in the Arab region face in accessing and enjoying such rights, visit the webpage of ongoing campaign on Women and Land launched in 2021 by UN-Habitat, GLTN and the Arab Land Initiative in partnership with the Stand for Her Land Campaign, and download the “Key messages on empowering and improving the life of women by protecting their land, housing and property rights in the Arab region”, developed based on the field experience of UN-Habitat and GLTN’s partners in the region.

From the blog:

KEY MESSAGES ON WOMEN AND LAND IN THE ARAB REGION
The messages are a quick reference on how to empower women, improve their lives, and ensure that they are better able to play their role in advancing social and economic development and peace in their communities, for the benefit of themselves, their families and the society as a whole. [Download]

KEY MESSAGES ON WOMEN, LAND AND PEACE
The messages are a quick reference on how to empower women and protect their housing, land and property rights in fragile and crisis-affected contexts and why this is an essential element to sustain peace and stability. [Read more]

WOMEN’S INHERITANCE RIGHTS
Under the Twinning Arrangements programme, the BENAA Foundation and the Masarat Nissaia are collecting the firsthand experiences of women, in Egypt and Tunisia, as it relates to their land inheritance, to understand the status of women’s rights in the two countries and provide recommendations for institutions and land practitioners. [Read More]

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