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June 7, 2022 | Laura Murphy

A Home of her Own?

In a stark report by Sara Reis, we find out why women can't afford to live on their own.

In a stark report by Sara Reis, ‘A Home of Her Own’, and discussed by Coco Khan in the Guardian Saturday magazine, we discover that one of the knock-on effects of the gender pay gap is a gender gap in housing affordability.  Women need over 12 times their annual salaries to be able to buy a home in England, while men need just over eight times their salary.  It’s even worse when it comes to the rental market where in England there is no area where private rented housing is affordable on women’s median earnings.  And the south-east is the worse area in the country for this.

More than 3m women have unpaid caring responsibilities with some having higher expenses such as single mothers.  Two thirds of homeless families with children are single parents.  Disabled women on average earn less, women from black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds have lower earnings too.  For all women, and these groups in particular, housing affordability is a huge problem.  The impact of social security cuts too are impacting more on women who make up 60% of housing benefit claimants and so are being disproportionately affected by these cuts.  The majority (67%) of statutory homeless people are women and who need more specialised support to get back into housing.

For renting to be affordable it should be no more than a third of someone’s wages.  With women experiencing a gender pay gap, and for those in the groups mentioned, nowhere in the UK is renting affordable for that region’s average women.  This leaves women vulnerable to domestic abuse because they cannot afford to move out.  The south-east is the worse area when it comes to housing affordability – and has the widest gender earnings gap too.

It’s a pretty depressing picture and we want to draw people’s attention to women’s circumstances.  We can only do that if you tell us what it’s like for you.  We want to hear your stories. 

Are you experiencing issues with housing costs?  How to do you manage your finances to keep a roof over your head, if you can.  What would help you?  Get in touch either by dropping into our Hub in St Leonards Road or email us on info@wayfinderwoman.com with the title A Home of Her Own.


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