JEDDAH: Arab News will 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 announcement was made at the opening on Tuesday of the inaugural Arab Women Forum at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
Representing Arab News editor in chief Faisal J. Abbas, who is in France covering the visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi media personality Muna AbuSulayman told the audience: “On behalf of Arab News I would like to officially announce its ambitious plan to have a 50-50 gender-balanced newsroom by the year 2020.” The announcement included a recorded video message from Abbas.
In a statement, Arab News said the gender-balanced newsroom drive — which is referred to internally as the “50:50 by 2020” initiative — will aim to cover all the newspaper’s bureaus and areas of operations. It will involve active recruitment, training and career guidance which the paper — with the help of its publisher, the Saudi Research and Marketing Group — will provide.
“This initiative is in line with the Kingdom’s reform plans and, as such, we are keen to ensure it succeeds, so we will make sure we announce progress reports regularly,” the statement said.
The Arab Women Forum was organized by the Dubai publishing and events company Mediaquest. It was held in partnership with Arab News and was attended by a large number of local and visiting dignitaries, diplomats, journalists and business executives.