The missing face of the housing crisis: Women lose as house prices surge

YWCA Australia believes the housing affordability crisis is not just intergenerational but gendered with women and young people both losing out as property prices surge.

Last night’s 4 Corner’s episode, ‘Going, Going, Gone’, shone a light on the long-term consequences of booming house prices but the impacts on women were missing from the conversation.

Charlotte Dillon, General Manager Community Housing at YWCA Australia said:

“Women face some of the biggest housing affordability challenges in our community. The housing crisis isn’t just an intergenerational problem, it’s a gendered issue.

“For women, it’s not just about owning a home but having a roof over their head. Low incomes, gender pay and superannuation gaps, family and domestic violence, are just some of the factors putting women at risk of significant housing stress and homelessness.

“Women are more likely to take on unpaid care work, which has only increased throughout the pandemic, and to work in part-time and in lower-paid roles meaning they’re more likely to be affected by housing affordability. For women on low incomes, it’s not simply house prices that are out of reach. Only 0.3 per cent of rentals are affordable to people receiving a Parenting Payment, the vast majority of whom are women.

“Too many women are just one life event away from homelessness. Last year, women comprised almost two-thirds of all people seeking homelessness support, and the main reason women accessed services was domestic, family and sexual violence. Suitable housing is in desperately short supply for women who leave a violent partner. In many of these cases, a woman must choose between staying in an unsafe home or becoming homeless.

“The data we have paints a grim picture, but the reality is women aren’t just missing from the conversation about the housing crisis, they’re often missing in the data we’re collecting. A gendered lens is very rarely applied so we have limited research into women’s reliance on their partners for housing, how often they’re leaving housing because it’s inadequate and how unaffordable they’re finding the private rental market.  

“We can’t ignore that the housing crisis is a gendered crisis. All women must be able to afford the cost of a suitable and safe house, food and other essentials. To achieve this, we need to apply a gendered lens to this unfolding crisis and that includes the data we’re collecting and the solutions we’re exploring.”


About YWCA Australia

YWCA Australia is an evolving intersectional feminist organisation focused on improving gender equality for young women, women and people of marginalised genders.

We have made young women’s leadership and women’s housing our priority for gender equity in Australia. 

Our high-impact evidence-based programs and services are inclusive of all women and people of marginalised genders and offer support with housing, homelessness, safety, wellbeing and young women’s leadership.

YWCA National Housing

YWCA National Housing is the only national women’s housing provider in Australia. We currently provide over 150,000 nights of affordable accommodation to women through our owned and operated properties in Victoria, Queensland and Northern Territory.

YWCA National Housing believe the provision of safe, secure and affordable accommodation is a foundation for empowering women to lead a fulfilled life. We provide and advocate for improved access to safe, secure and affordable housing for low income Australians, particularly women and their children. Safe, secure and affordable housing is fundamental to women’s social, economic and educational participation, and the realisation of gender equality and women’s human rights.

YWCA National Housing is a subsidiary of YWCA Australia:

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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