Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Law


This research will investigate the educational rights of women in Islamic law and study the theoretical and practical operation of relevant Saudi laws in line with the laws and standards set by international human rights law. The focus will be on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the official reports and governmental contributions and responses to the CEDAW committee, as well as shadow reports from International Women‘s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific, and other NGOs.

This study aims to ensure that girls and women, married or unmarried, have equal rights with men in education at all levels; in particular, equal access to programs of continuing education including at universities, and vocational, technical and professional schools. In addition, it aims to facilitate access to their right to education and to maternity, without forcing a choice of one over the other. This study attempts to resolve the problems and obstacles faced by women who wish to continue their education. It will examine education policy in Saudi Arabia, discuss and investigate the steps taken in Saudi regulations for the development of women‘s education and the prevention of discrimination against women in education, and consider ways to encourage women to participate in all aspects of education. The project is an attempt to solve the problem posed by the perception that there is an unsolvable conflict between the right of women to education and their home duties. This thesis will assess the adequacy of existing Saudi law and, where warranted, recommend amendments and reforms to ensure the protection of education for women.

This project will also examine Education Policy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with regard to the issues of women‘s education. Moreover, it will investigate the steps that have been taken within the Saudi legal system to prevent discrimination and encourage participation and will identify ways in which participation continues to be limited.

This study is an attempt to participate in the development of women‘s education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; to contribute to taking advantage of international law, especially international conventions to which Saudi Arabia recently has become a Party; and to change habits, traditions, and systems that have contributed to the denial of women‘s right to education. The study also will contribute to the development of educational outcomes and benefits derived from international laws that will facilitate the opening of new areas of specialisation to women, thus eliminating the problem of limited educational specialisation for women in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, this research attempts to clarify women‘s rights under Islamic law. Applying the study‘s findings and recommendations will significantly change the distribution of women in higher education in Saudi Arabia as well as their overall proportion of student intake and graduates and contribute to the activation of many facilities, such as, the increased provision of transport, child care facilities and libraries, the deprivation of these having hindered women‘s ability to fully participate in education in Saudi Arabia. The findings also will be useful for national economic development by opening new channels for graduate education in all areas.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.