8 March, 2023

International Women’s Day

Then and now: the impact women have made, and continue to make in the social housing sector

Since the creation of social housing, women have been part of the fight for rights, from being able to rent as a single woman, running social housing organisations, to community action in the face of rent increases. This Historic England article covers how women took on the obstacles that prevented them from having access to accomodation in the late 19th Centuary through to WWII, and this article from The Guardian highlights 3 significant campaigns led by women spanning from 1972 to 2014.


Today, those working in social housing are more female than the UK population, with 57% female compared to 51% at population level (Housing, NHF, 2021). This is striking given that the same report finds there is a lack of data on gender identity, meaning the true numbers are not known.


The numbers of women working and living in social housing and the history of women coming together to fight for rights and positive change, brings us back to the core of social housing – people.


Not only do more women work in the sector but more women need support from the sector as they are more likely to require access to social housing accommodation due to domestic abuse, the gender pay gap, dependence on benefits, and increased risks of homelessness, with these risks increasing for women of global ehtnic majority, disabled women and LGBTQIA+.


Regardless of gender, the importance of listening to residents based on their need is stressed over and over again so services can be delivered at an individual level.


If you’re passionate about women and housing, check out the Women In Social Housing Network and if you are ready to be inspired about the power of embracing a resident-led approach, read about Eastlight Community Homes, All In programme.