SDG5: Gender Equality

Al Maarefa University’s Role in Promoting Gender Equality and Fighting Discrimination in Saudi Arabia

Gender equality is a fundamental human right and a crucial aspect of sustainable development. Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in recent years to address gender disparities and promote women’s rights. Al Maarefa University, situated in Saudi Arabia, plays an instrumental role in advancing gender equality and fighting discrimination through various initiatives that empower women, challenge stereotypes, and promote inclusivity.

Changing Landscape of Gender Equality in Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia has witnessed transformative changes in its approach to gender equality, with legal reforms allowing women to drive, participate in the workforce, and engage in public life. The country’s Vision 2030 initiative places a strong emphasis on empowering women and expanding their opportunities in various sectors.

Al Maarefa University’s Contributions:

Al Maarefa University aligns with the national agenda for gender equality and has taken proactive steps to contribute to this cause:

  • Educational Empowerment: The university provides quality education to both men and women, emphasizing equal opportunities for academic and professional growth. This approach challenges traditional gender norms and ensures that women have access to a wide range of educational programs, promoting their participation in various fields.
  • Promoting Women’s Leadership: Al Maarefa University actively encourages women’s leadership and participation in decision-making roles. The university fosters an environment where female students can develop leadership skills and be prepared to excel in their chosen careers.
  • Gender-Inclusive Curriculum: The university’s curriculum promotes gender-inclusive perspectives, challenging stereotypes and biases. This approach helps students develop a more nuanced understanding of gender roles, promoting a culture of respect and equality.
  • Support Services: Al Maarefa University offers support services, including counseling and mentoring, to address any gender-related challenges that students may face. This support system ensures that all students have a positive and equitable educational experience.
  • Research and Advocacy: The university engages in research that examines gender-related issues, sheds light on discriminatory practices, and contributes to broader discussions on gender equality. This research contributes to informed policymaking and societal awareness.
  • Community Engagement: Al Maarefa University actively engages with local communities to promote awareness of gender equality. The university’s events, workshops, and campaigns aim to challenge stereotypes and raise awareness about the importance of women’s participation in all aspects of society.
  • Inclusive Environment: Al Maarefa University strives to create an inclusive and respectful environment that values diversity. This atmosphere encourages open dialogue and mutual understanding, fostering a culture that rejects discrimination and promotes equality.

Al Maarefa University’s commitment to promoting gender equality and fighting discrimination in Saudi Arabia is evident through its multifaceted approach. By providing education, promoting leadership, offering support services, conducting research, and engaging with the community, the university contributes significantly to the nation’s efforts to achieve gender equality and empower women. Al Maarefa University’s initiatives not only impact its students but also influence broader societal attitudes, fostering a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

AlMaarefa University Equality and Diversity Policy

AlMaarefa University is committed to promoting equality and providing an environment where all members of its community are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to seeking to employ a workforce and educate a student body that reflects the diverse community we serve. The Equality Act (2010) helps by providing a legal framework to protect people from discrimination, harassment, and victimization in the workplace and wider society.

As a Higher Education Institution, we have specific equality duties that also require us to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. It is also our responsibility to publish equality information (data) on an annual basis and review and publish specific and measurable equality objectives every four years.

UM are committed to providing equality of opportunity and will work to ensure that all of our staff, students, and visitors, as well as those that seek to apply to work or study with us are treated fairly and are not subjected to unlawful discrimination by the University on the basis of (their protected characteristic) philosophical belief and a lack of belief.


The policy is applicable to all staff (which includes for the purposes of this policy and for ease of reference, consultants, contractors, volunteers, casual workers, and agency workers), students, and applicants to work or study at the University. The principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity also apply to the way in which staff and students should treat each other, visitors, contractors, service providers, suppliers, and any other persons associated with the functions of the University.

Aims of the Policy

The University’s aim is to promote equality of opportunity for all, through the following objectives:

  • Assessing the impact on equality in our policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Having an effective data monitoring and analysis process.
  • Involving staff, students, and other stakeholders in the development and delivery of our equality objectives.
  • Promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion through internal and external communications.
  • Ensuring that managers and staff take part in equality training and those who have responsibility for recruitment and selection.
  • Ensuring staff and university student support services are, as far as reasonably possible, accessible to all.
  • Ensuring that both existing staff and students, as well as those who seek to apply to work and study with us, are treated fairly and are judged solely on merit and by reference to their skills and abilities.
  • Ensuring that staff, students, and their representatives are provided with appropriate forums to discuss equality, diversity, and inclusion issues and raise any concerns.
  • Ensuring that all contractors and service providers operating on behalf of the University are aware of this policy and are expected to adhere to it.
  • Complying with its legal obligations.


A failure to comply with the principles set out in this policy may be considered to be a disciplinary offense and will be addressed through the relevant procedures.


Any cases of discrimination, harassment, bullying, or victimization will be taken very seriously by the University. Any member of staff or student found guilty of unlawful discrimination or harassment will be subject to disciplinary action. Appropriate action will be taken where possible if any member of the public, visitor, or service provider is involved in discrimination or harassment. Staff, students, or other parties who make a complaint of discrimination have the right to do so without fear of victimization, and the University will make every effort to ensure that any complaints are dealt with promptly and fairly.

Policy of non-discrimination against women 

The principle of equality, which is essentially in contrast to discrimination, including discrimination against women, which is set out in Article (8) of the Basic Law of Governance, stipulating: “The system of government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is established on the foundation of justice, Shura (consultation) and equality in compliance with Islamic Shariah” and which is implicitly contained in Article (26) of the same Law which stipulates: “The State shall protect human rights in accordance with Islamic Shariah” in addition to other principles and provisions of the Basic Law of Governance and the Kingdom’s laws derived from it – is consistent with the relevant international standards. These provisions criminalize discrimination and violence against women and are implemented by institutions established or supported for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights, including women’s rights, such as the Human Rights Commission, the National Society for Human Rights and other institutions, as well as the existing government agencies.

It should be noted that absolute equality between men and women is observed in most areas of human rights such as the right to work, education, health, economic rights and others.


Regarding equality between men and women and the fight against discrimination in employment, the Labor Law does not differentiate between men and women in rights and duties, nor does it draw any distinction in equal pay for work of equal value and quality. The Kingdom is a party to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 100 concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value and Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation. The Ministerial Decision no. 2370/1, dated 18/8/1431H, corresponding to 28/08/2010, was issued to prohibit any discrimination in wages between male and female workers for work of equal value. There is full equality between men and women as regards the jobseeker’s allowance, where women receive the same amount as men, as well as in the training and employment assistance provided by the Human Resources Development Fund to men and women employed in the private sector, both in terms of the amount of subsidy for training costs, wages or duration of assistance. The Labor Law has taken into account the nature of women and has assigned a full section to them (Part 9), which includes additional provisions relating to women’s employment in the private sector so as to provide further protection to them. 

The Labor Law was amended by Royal Decree No. (M/134), dated 27/11/1440H, to ensure equality between men and women in rights and duties, and in-service conditions. Article (3) of the Labor Law states that work is the right of every citizen and that people must not be discriminated against on the basis of sex, as well as equality in the retirement age between men and women (60 years). The amendments also entailed prohibiting the dismissal or dismissal with a notice of a female worker during her pregnancy, maternity leave or during illness resulting from either pregnancy or delivery. Likewise, the Social Insurance Law has been amended, particularly Article (38), in order to achieve equality between men and women in terms of the retirement age, which has become (60) years for both sexes.

Woman at Al Maarefa University:

Woman International Day

Al Maarefa university motivates and supports Saudi women to pursue excellence.

Honoring the Students in the College of Medicine

His Excellency the President #جامعة_المعرفة Prof. Dr. Walid bin Hussein Abu Al-Faraj – in the presence of His Excellency the Dean of the College of Medicine – honors the two students in the College of Medicine: Joud Asfari and Kholoud Al-Sayegh, in recognition of their distinguished efforts in preparing and organizing the art exhibition accompanying the graduation ceremony of the tenth batch of university students.

Health Technology Competition

We congratulate the students of the Department of Anesthesia Technology: Salma Al-Hassan, Sama Badri, Nour Ali in #جامعة_المعرفة for winning second place with their innovative project (Manawla), in the health technology competition that coincides with the activities of the Innovation in Health Technology Conference and Exhibition.

International Day of Girls and Women in Science

It’s the International Day of Girls and Women in Science! #AlMaarefa is proud of its pioneering role in supporting its female faculty & students to excel in scientific forums; to enable them to actively contribute to the ambitious #SaudiVision2030. 

Health Innovation Hackathon

A student of the College of Pharmacy at #جامعة_المعرفة Asmaa Al-Sawadi tells her ambitious experience in the Health Innovation Hackathon. The aspirations of our students are derived from the aspirations of our country’s vision.

Happy Woman’s Day

To all our female students and faculty members 💓 Every year, you are a source of excellence and giving

Congratulations for the Winning

We congratulate Dr. Sarah Saad Al-Amer – Faculty of Medicine

Her brilliance and winning the second place in the oral presentations on #البحث_العلمي b #جامعة_المعرفة

Research participants:

  • Dr. Shujoun Muhammad Al-Azzam
  • Dr. Amjad Khater Al-Enezi
  • Dr. Muhammad Ahmed Sankari
  • Dr. Jana Samir Sindi

College of Medicine Committee


Prince Faisal bin Bandar Award for Excellence and Creativity

Dr. Asma bint Mamoun Kiremli is a graduate #جامعة_المعرفة and one of the first Saudi female doctors to achieve the Prince Faisal bin Bandar Award for Excellence and Creativity.