SDG 5: GENDER EQUALITY
Al Maarefa University is firmly committed to achieving the goal set by the United Nations for gender equality and the empowerment of all girls and women. The university has been recognized for its equal opportunities and gender policies following the vision 2030 which had women empowerment as their main strategic goals.
In the G20 meeting of 2019, Saudi Arabia participated in the women empowerment initiative that aims at reducing the pay ap between male and female as well as supporting women's participation in small business. In 2020, Saudi Arabia was ranked as a top reformer on women's rights atwork. The World Bank’s “Women, Business and the Law 2020” study, which tracks how laws affect women in 190 economies, scored Saudi Arabia’s economy 70.6 points out of 100, a dramatic increase from its previous score of 31.8 points. Saudi Arabia was the country to make “the biggest improvement globally” since 2017 according to the World Bank press release, including advances n women’s mobility, sexual harassment, retirement age and economic activity. The study found the Kingdom enacted reforms n six out of eight indicators associated with women’s economic empowerment, from June 2017 to September 2019. “Saudi Arabia basically has become one of the leaders in the Arab world in terms of women empowerment,” World Bank’s Regional director for the GCC Issam Abu Sulaiman said, according to the Saudi Press Agency. twenty-nineteen (2019) was a year of “groundbreaking” reforms that allowed women greater economic opportunity in Saudi Arabia, according to the study’s findings. Amendments were adopted to protect women from discrimination in employment, to prohibit employers from dismissing a woman during her pregnancy and maternity leave, and to prohibit gender-based discrimination in accessing financial services.
Saudi Arabia “also equalized the retirement age for women and men at 60 years, extending women’s working lives, earnings, and contributions.” Under the study’s mobility indicator, which measures a woman’s freedom of movement, Saudi Arabia also made significant strides due to changes in guardianship laws. In August 2019 it was announced Saudi Arabian women above 1 would no longer need permission from a male guardian to travel abroad or obtain a passport. Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the US and the first Saudi female ambassador, said at the time the new developments for women were “history in the making.” he Saudi Arabian ministry of education has a specialized center for educational Statistics and Decision Support Center. The enter collects and provides documented data and accurate updated statistics on education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a nd publishes them in an appropriate time frame, to facilitate the mechanism of decision-making and policy-making, and to develop strategic plans for education. UM uses these statistics to create long term strategic goals to achieve the university vision and mission, for example according to female admission statistics the university established their 2020-2025 operational plan in page 6 one of the initiated actions was " Enabling outstanding women cadres" in order to achieve their strategic goal 1 " Enhance governance of the administrative system". These statistics are also used to influence intake specified by each program to encourage female admission rate and gender equality.
Here is a brief list of events and actions that are related to SDG5 and which are detailed in the SDG5 related reports:
- Publishing an Anti-Discrimination Policy.
- Publishing maternity and paternity policies and providing childcare services to facilitate recent mothers-students’, staff and faculty university life.
- Providing females with a special attention and supporting their education, activities and participation in the various university programs.
- UM has paid a considerable effort to increase girls’ access to education and reduce the gender gap at different educational levels following the kingdom' 2030 vision.
- Because seeing another woman be successful gives girls someone to identify with and proves that women can achieve in STEM subjects, the university involved motivated students in the university student's council and hired highly established female faculty in inspiring positions.
- UM provides free on campus clinic covers basic healthcare equipped with appropriate physicians and equipment, also, the clinic physicians can refer students to the area government and private healthcare facilities for further care.