New Library Research Guide: Women’s Housing and Shelter Rights

New Library Research Guide: Women’s Housing and Shelter Rights

The HLS Library recently published a new online research guide, Researching Women’s Housing and Shelter Rights.

According to the United Nations, housing and human rights are related due to “the significance of a secure place to live for human dignity, physical and mental health, and overall quality of life(.)”  Accordingly, “the right to adequate housing joined the body of international, universally applicable, and universally accepted human rights law” when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted in 1948.  See, in particular, Article 25 of the UDHR:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services(.)

Housing is also a protected right under Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), as well as several other international human rights treaties and conventions.

It is understood that the right to housing is comprised of multiple separate rights, including but not limited to (1) the right to shelter, (2) the right to affordable housing, (3) the right to habitable housing, and (4) the right to security of tenure.

The HLS Library’s new research guide on this topic includes a directory of organizations engaged in housing research and advocacy in the U.S. and Europe, such as the National Coalition for the Homeless and FEANTSA.

The guide also provides as a number of pre-populated searches of Harvard’s HOLLIS library catalog, using relevant Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) keywords.

Finally, the guide includes a list of recently-published cross-disciplinary books and scholarly articles that discuss demographic and situational factors that are relevant to women’s housing and shelter rights, including:

  • Housing instability of:
    • Poor women
    • Single mothers
    • Women of Color
    • Gay women
    • Transgender women
    • Nonbinary/gender nonconforming people
    • Older women
    • Disabled women
    • Women who have significant health challenges (including drug abuse, cancer, and mental illness)
    • Pregnant women
    • Female victims of intimate partner violence
    • Women with prior evictions
    • Female veterans
    • Female sex workers
    • Women who have been in prison
  • Difficulties experienced by poor women in acquiring government housing benefits
  • The impact of the subprime mortgage crisis on women’s housing stability and wealth accumulation

The guide is freely available online.  Check it out at https://guides.library.harvard.edu/womens_housing_rights.

About: Jennifer Allison

Librarian for Foreign, Comparative, and International Law, Harvard Law School Library.
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