JEDDAH: Arab News has big plans to recruit more female staff.
Last year the newspaper 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 proportion of women working for the newspaper rose to more than a third in 2018, moving closer to the goal of a 50:50 gender-balanced newsroom by 2020, according to the Arab News “gender equality meter,” published in March.
The initiative reflects an aim of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reforms to empower women in all fields, elevate their status and include more of them in the workforce, to enable them to contribute to the national economy.
Within a span of just two years, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom has undergone massive changes that have enriched the lives of women.
Major events for women in the past two years have included the lifting of the driving ban on June 24, 2018, and women visiting sports stadiums and watching their favorite local soccer teams. The first match that women saw was the one between Al-Ahli and Al-Batin on January 12, 2018.
Saudi Arabia’s military began accepting applications from women in March 2018, women were appointed as members of the board of trustees of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue in February 2018, and in that same month women were able to start their own businesses without a male guardian’s permission. The Oxford Aviation Academy in Dammam started accepting applications from women in March 2018, with the first batch of female students beginning their foundation program at the academy on September 2, 2018.
History was made in February this year when Princess Reema bint Bandar became the first Saudi female envoy to the US.
She took the oath of loyalty before King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, to become Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador, and she was sworn in as Saudi ambassador to the US on Tuesday, April 16.