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History of The Women Build Program

The month of March calls for a celebration of Women's achievements, raising awareness

about discrimination, and taking action to drive gender parity! International Women's Day is celebrated this year on March 8th, 2024. 

Woman in pink hardhat using a hammer

Habitat for Humanity offers the Women Build Program as an initiative for women to take action on the construction site. The significance of this program goes beyond just building. The program empowers women to work toward owning their own homes and supporting their families lives.

The history of the Women Build Program dates back to 1991:


a line of pink hardhats branded with Habitat For Humanity logo

A group of women in Charlotte, North Carolina, completed the first women-built Habitat for Humanity house. With this event, the seeds for Habitat’s Women Build program were planted. A handful of Habitat affiliates continue to build houses with women crews.


As part of the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, Kentucky First Lady Libby Jones, and Oklahoma First Lady Cathy Keating participated in a Women Build. The idea for Habitat’s First Ladies Build is born.


Habitat for Humanity International formed the Women Build department, and it became an official program.


The Women Build department hosted the First Ladies Build. Women governors and first ladies from all 50 states joined Habitat to build houses with families in need.

Volunteers wearing pink hardhats working together to build a house for habitat for humanity


Lowe’s signed on as Women Build’s underwriter. Home Interiors and Gifts, Inc. became a major sponsor of Women Build. Since 2003, the program has more than doubled in size.


Women Build’s First Families Building Homes Across America united women volunteers with governors’ spouses and local and statewide leaders to construct Habitat homes in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. Fifty-two homes were built throughout the country.


Lowe’s sponsored National Women Build Week, which was held in the days leading up to Mother’s Day. In the inaugural year, about 6,000 women volunteers participated at more than 150 Habitat affiliates across the United States.


Lowe’s committed $1 million each year to National Women Build Week, which expanded and gained momentum. By 2018, a record of more than 130,000 volunteers impacted more than 5,000 individuals in combined annual national and international events.


Chico’s FAS, Inc. and its family of brands announced a new partnership with Habitat, including sponsorship of Habitat’s 2018 Women Build program.


The program continued to grow across international borders, empowering women everywhere to address housing issues for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. In partnership with Lowe’s, Habitat’s Women Build Week was created as an annual weeklong event starting on International Women’s Day.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Habitat went virtual for International Women Build Week 2021. More than 300 Habitat locations in the U.S., Canada, and India organized ways for volunteers to get involved virtually to support our mission to raise awareness of the challenges women face in accessing safe, affordable housing. 

Chester County Women Builds

Our Chester County affiliate of Habitat for Humanity hosted two successful Women's Builds during 2023.

Group of women in pink Habitat for Humanity shirts standing in front of a house they built

June 2023

Our first Women Build in June 2023 was a huge success! Local businesswomen from the area, including the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce members, spent the day building stairs and installing apex pipes in our 4th phase of homes at Fuller Meadows in West Grove, PA. Thank you especially to Betsy Niedziejko, WSFS SVP Commercial Relationship Manager and Board member of HFHCC, for coordinating this build day.

Two volunteers smiling and working together wearing pink habitat for humanity shirts

Shoutout to the amazing team of women who came out to build with us. We are so grateful to have volunteers. We couldn't continue our mission without them.

September 2023

Our second Women Build in September 2023 was also a great success, thanks to the many businesswomen from all over Chester County who volunteered. 

I have participated in several Women's builds and love the sense of camaraderie, community, impact, and accomplishment.  It's great to learn new skills, but to be part of something greater than oneself while helping to provide a basic necessity that many of us take for granted is where the magic happens for me! I can't solve all the world's problems, but I can help solve problems right here in my backyard!  That is most fulfilling and gratifying for me.” - Lulu Hart Bentley

We are so grateful for our strong and empowering volunteers. 

Group of women in pink Habitat for Humanity shirts standing in front of a house they built

Empowering Women Through Homeownership

Here at Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, we work to provide equity in the form of safe, affordable living conditions for all people! 65% of Habitat for Humanity of Chester County Families are led by single mothers, and 53% of those single-parent families are led by minority women. We are happy to take part in a worldwide effort for women's empowerment and affordable housing.

Two people embracing and looking happy and grateful

Through our homeownership program, families are relieved of this large financial burden and can further achieve success in all aspects of life. When the stress of housing costs is relieved, there is more room for growth in employment, education, family time, community service, supporting the economy, and more. The positive impact is endless.

How You Can Make A Difference

Community support and advocacy play a crucial role in addressing housing insecurity among single mothers. There are many ways to get involved in our mission here in Chester County. Volunteering is more than just swinging a hammer. You can also get involved by shopping, donating, or volunteering at our Chester County ReStores. Do you have furniture or homewares that need to be donated? The ReStore is the place for you! All proceeds go directly to constructing affordable homes in Chester County for deserving families. Together, we can #ReStore2024.

Home goods and furniture being sold at habitat for humanity's restore

If you are interested in building with us, we have opportunities for you to sign up as a construction volunteer, or you can gather your work team for a corporate build. Together, we can achieve global independence through homeownership. This Women's History Month, let's commit to advancing housing justice and ensuring that every woman and her family have a place to call home.


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