she owns - we prosper

European Development Days

The EU and non-governmental organizations need to be less tone-deaf to helping women put down or maintain legally protected housing roots. It would help reduce homelessness and slum area growth. 

Investment in the Global South especially needs to be seen through a gender lens. Women face greater barriers than men do when it comes to buying a piece of land or a house. Lack of property ownership then makes them live in constant fear of eviction. 

In Lesotho, an 82-year-old woman, Mamolelekeng, was raising five orphaned great-grandchildren in a shack that a generous landowner offered to them. The ownership changed suddenly and the new owner wanted to evict them. 

With the impending change in ownership, we felt constantly threatened.
— Mamolelekeng

Historically, women in many African communities are excluded from inheriting land. They have raised their voices about it in Brussels in the hope that they can be included in dialogues about investments and policies. The European Investment Bank Gender Strategy, for example, will help focus support on projects that increase the participation of women in the labor market and economy. They will apply a gender aspect when evaluating the worldwide project applications. 

Where women are empowered, society as a whole prospers. We heard many proofs of that at the European Development Days. We can empower them if we listen to their voices and give them special attention in investment strategies.

Securing equal land rights for women will ensure that their families have a decent place to live.


This article is created with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

logos of European Union, project Build Solid Ground and Habitat for Humanity