RIYADH: Arab News, the Saudi Arabia-based newspaper, boosted the ratio of female staff and contributors working in the Kingdom in 2017 to almost a third — compared to just 13 percent the previous year.
The results of Arab News’ “Gender equality meter” are published today as part of the newspaper’s stated aim to become the first Saudi “gender-balanced” newspaper by 2020.
In 2016, 87 percent of the newspaper’s staff and contributors in Saudi Arabia were men. Last year the number of women working for the paper within the Kingdom hit 32 percent.
The ratio of women working across the newspaper’s global editorial operations — including editorial staff in the Saudi, London and Dubai bureaus, regular Opinion writers, foreign correspondents and freelancers — stood at 31 percent in 2017.
There is no global comparison for 2016 because the London and Dubai operations did not exist, and the Opinion section included much syndicated content. Overall comparative figures, and numbers for Arab News’ Southeast Asia bureau, will be published next year.
Arab News earlier this month outlined its aim to become the first newspaper in Saudi Arabia to have a gender-balanced newsroom — and it intends to achieve this goal in less than two years. The drive — referred to internally as the “50:50 by 2020” initiative — will aim to cover all the newspaper’s bureaus and areas of operation. It will involve active recruitment, training and career guidance which the paper will provide.