Arab News boosts female staff in drive to become first Saudi ‘gender-balanced’ newspaper

Arab News' Jeddah bureau. The newspaper aims to have a 50:50 gender-balanced newsroom by 2020. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 08 March 2019
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Arab News boosts female staff in drive to become first Saudi ‘gender-balanced’ newspaper

RIYADH: The proportion of women working for Arab News rose to more than a third in 2018, moving closer toward the Riyadh-based newspaper’s target to have a 50:50 gender-balanced newsroom by 2020.
The ratio of women working across the global operations — including editorial staff in the Saudi, London and Dubai bureaus, regular Opinion writers and foreign correspondents — stood at 35 percent at the end of 2018.
That compares to 31 percent in 2017 and just 13 percent the previous year, according to Arab News’ “Gender equality meter,” published today.
Arab News last year outlined its aim to become the first newspaper in Saudi Arabia to have a gender-balanced newsroom. The drive — referred to internally as the “50:50 by 2020” initiative — covers all the newspaper’s bureaus and areas of operation.

The increase in the proportion of female staff last year was the result of active recruitment, increased training initiatives, and steps to provide career guidance with the help of the newspaper’s publisher, the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.
Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News, said the newspaper’s “50:50 by 2020” initiative reflected the wider reform drive in Saudi Arabia, part of which is to encourage more women into work.
“Having a diverse newsroom is not about ticking boxes — it is about giving equal opportunities to skilled journalists based in Saudi Arabia and beyond, while also providing training and nurturing young talent within the Kingdom,” said Abbas.
“It is also about serving our community better by doing what we do best — quality, insightful and inclusive journalism.”
“Our ‘50:50 by 2020’ initiative is in line with the positive steps in Saudi Arabia toward giving opportunities to everyone in society, especially the burgeoning youth population.”
Further announcements regarding the progress of the “50:50 by 2020” initiative will be made in the future, along with updates to the Arab News “Gender equality meter.”


Qatari media incites boycott of Bahrain’s Palestinian workshop, but ignores leaks about own regime attendance

Updated 26 May 2019
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Qatari media incites boycott of Bahrain’s Palestinian workshop, but ignores leaks about own regime attendance

  • Experts predict that comments come as a result of Iranian and Qatari media propagating a negative view of the workshop, which is being falsely portrayed as an effort to force Palestinians to sell-away their right to a state
  • Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector

DUBAI: Qatari media has been upping the ante with articles and opinion pieces shedding negative light on the US-lead “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop in Bahrain, which led to Palestinian officials to have a negative view of the summit and urge other Arab states of boycotting it.

“We call on the countries that have agreed to attend the Bahrain workshop to reevaluate their decision,” the secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, Saeb Erekat, told Arab News in an interview yesterday. 

Experts predict that comments come as a result of Iranian and Qatari media propagating a negative view of the workshop, which is being falsely portrayed as an effort to force Palestinians to sell-away their right to a state. 

“‘A two-day international Peace to Prosperity economic workshop in Bahrain undermines #Palestinians and their calls for sovereignty’” read a tweet from Qatar-owned English version of The New Arab, a newspaper based in London. 

Another tweet by the same news website read: “In-depth: ‘Palestinian political and religious leaders have slammed Jared Kushner’s so-called Deal of the Century Israel-Palestine peace plan, due to be revealed in part in a controversial Bahrain summit‘”

While a Twitter poll from senior Al Jazeera New channel anchor Jamal Rayyan asked “Do you support Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel’s organization of an economic conference in Bahrain to finance the deal of the century and the liquidation of the Palestinian cause?”

The results showed 71 percent against while 29 percent for.

Also, articles from Middle East Eye and Middle East Monitor – both Qatari-backed and pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood – have exaggerated the ‘failings’ of the workshop in Manama.

But while Qatari media has aggressively pushed against the Bahain summit, Israel-based Haaretz has published an article claiming that Qatar plans to attend and participate in the conference, which takes place on June 25 and 26.

No reports of Qatar confirming or denying the Haaretz article were found by Arab News.

Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.

Trump’s office said the conference was a “pivotal opportunity... to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.”

The Palestinians see this as offering financial rewards in exchange for accepting ongoing Israeli occupation.

“Attempts at promoting an economic normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected,” Erekat said.

(With AFP)