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Building Stronger Communities Through the Power of Women

Three events in March recognize the great achievements of women: Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day (March 8th) and the San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity Women Build,  These events collectively recognize women who are trailblazers, heroes, and advocates, internationally and in our own communities. 

SGV Habitat’s Women Build brings a community of volunteers and corporate sponsors together to help build better futures for low-income families in the San Gabriel Valley.

Women from all walks of life will trade in their “mom hat” “business hat”, or “student hat” for a hard hat.  As we remember the women pioneers whose strength and courage contributed to our great nation, we celebrate women in our own community who at Women Build, lift a hammer and their voice to support affordable homeownership opportunities and the need for additional funding for homeownership programs

In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we want to recognize one of the most famous volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.  Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, has volunteered alongside her husband since 1984.  After the duo volunteered on a Habitat home, they realized their personal values aligned with those of Habitat for Humanity.  Soon after their first volunteer experience with Habitat they started The Carter Work Project.  This weeklong building blitz which takes place annually, alternating between the United States and internationally, has contributed to securing the stability of homeownership for over 4,300 families. Rosalynn Carter has dedicated her life to serving others in areas such as fighting for decent housing, improving services for mental health, and advocating for women’s rights.

Although women have come a long way since the women’s right movement, there are still barriers in housing equality. Even though women have closed the gap in education, women are paid 83 cents for every dollar a man earns, (according to the U.S. Census Bureau.) This translates to men having more buying power than women. Women could afford 18% more of the housing market if they made as much money as men, (according to Zillow.)

Income disparage means women have more difficulty saving for a down payment than men. Often they sacrifice size of a home and live in less desirable neighborhoods. In addition to lower wages, women often have higher cost burdens than men that affect their debt-to-income ratio.  For example, “mom-wage gap” is experienced by single mothers who often bear the financial responsibility of childcare expenses, and the lack of paid time-off for maternity leave.

SGV Habitat homeowner April and her daughters

These factors can lead to women being denied better lending rates. According to The National Association of Realtors, women make more financial sacrifices than men in order to purchase a home. Forty-two percent of women make financial sacrifices compared to 32% of men. Women are also willing to make more sacrifices than men, including cutting spending in areas of entertainment, clothes, and vacations. This highlights the importance that women place on owning a home.  Women recognize that owning a home provides long-term financial stability and upward mobility. Studies show that the benefits of owning a home go far beyond improved financial health but also add to increased self-confidence, mental health, physical, and emotional health.

Homeowners take a vested interest in their community creating stronger social ties and community activism. Homeownership raises education outcome in children leading to higher graduation rates.

Women Build and International Women’s Day, calls attention to the need to close the gap, creating a more secure and fair path to homeownership for women.  When you advocate for Women Build you are helping women here and internationally, find a better means towards stability through shelter. To build a stronger housing future for women, please consider joining our sponsors in support of a San Gabriel Valley and a world where everyone has a decent place to live. For more information visit our website at

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