Sports media urged to lift its game for women

Sports media urged to lift its game for women
JUSCo. is the first Saudi private sports company to train girls and boys in basketball, football and volleyball. (Photo/Instagram @jeddahunited)
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Updated 07 January 2022

Sports media urged to lift its game for women

Sports media urged to lift its game for women
  • Female athletes call for equal funding as ‘sister sector’ chases wider audience

JEDDAH: Media coverage of sports plays a key role in representing athletes from different nationalities and ethnicities in their respective fields. It can promote global dialogue that transcends femininity and masculinity, embracing the inclusive nature of sports and reporting it to the world.

Yet on a global and local scale, women’s representation in sports media coverage seems to remain at a disadvantage compared with that of men.

In December 2007, Arab News covered the first women’s street basketball tournament in Jeddah, organized by Jeddah United Sports Company and Gold’s Gym, and showcasing Saudi sportsmanship and highly skilled female athletes.

When asked about the exposure gained from the tournament, Lina Al-Maeena, co-founder of JUSCo. and former Shoura Council member, told Arab News: “I have to say that it opened up doors for us, especially on the international front. CNN and BBC, as well as many international channels, approached us, and numerous potential sponsors, such as Nike, also connected with us.”

JUSCo. is the first Saudi private sports company to train girls and boys in basketball, football and volleyball, and promote the culture of sports and physical activity.

Al-Maeena added: “Women’s sports are definitely underfunded and under-promoted. We are yet to have broadcasting initiatives, but advocating for equal airtime is important to promote women representation in sports, along with fundraising through sponsorship.”

In alignment with Vision 2030 and the 16 sustainable development goals, the Kingdom aims to ensure healthy lives and well-being for individuals of all ages.

The Saudi National Transformation Program launched in 2016 continues to raise the standard of living, and enable the sports and private sectors, including social development and empowerment of the Saudi people, and women, in particular.

On Nov. 22, 2021, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation’s Regional Football League kicked off, marking a new era for women’s football in the Kingdom.

“The NTP has empowered young individuals to widen their horizon and explore the possibilities in sports, too,” said Al-Maeena.

She added that the sports sector is a sister sector to the health and education sectors, highlighting physical activity as preventive aid to many physical, psychological and social ailments.

BACKGROUND

In December 2007, Arab News covered the first women’s street basketball tournament in Jeddah, organized by Jeddah United Sports Company and Gold’s Gym, and showcasing Saudi sportsmanship and highly skilled female athletes.

Arab News spoke to female athletes about their journey from amateur to professional, and the familial and sports sector support they received in their quest to fulfil their dream.

Saja Kamal, a 32-year-old Saudi sports advocate and professional football player, shared the uplifting experience of the professional 2020 Saudi Sports For All Women’s Football League under the Ministry of Sports.

“My father introduced me to football at the age of four, at a time where taking part of a male-dominated sport was difficult, and almost a privilege for girls and women,” said Kamal.

During her high school education in Bahrain, Kamal joined the Arsenal Soccer School.

“It’s not that female sports don’t have their fan base or interested audience, it’s just a matter of equal access and media coverage,” she said.

Elham Al-Fahad, a 36-year-old Saudi football player, broke the 2019 world record for the longest football match held at the Lyon Foundation under a nonprofit initiative promoting gender equality and access in sports, with Kamal ranked in third place.

“My dream is to become a coach for Al-Hilal football club when it establishes a national team,” said Al-Fahad when asked about her future plans.

Al-Fahad was also part of the football team challenge in Riyadh in the days before football for women was made official in the Kingdom.

“I was encouraged by my male family members to join them in playing football, and by the age of seven I became completely hooked on the sport, up to the point of taking my football with me to bed as a child.”

Yasmina bin Mahfooz, a 30-year- old professional tennis player, told Arab News that she joined the Al-Nasser tennis club early in 2021.

“My parents allowed me to experience all sorts of sports and activities, and in doing so, my passion for tennis was born at six years of age,” she said.

“Introducing children from a young age to all sorts of sports serves as an outlet for them and a disciplinary tool, and for that I encourage women and young girls to always dream big and indulge in the world of physical activity.”

Al-Maeena said: “Legislation of women’s clubs is very new and even though the trend is toward privatization, women’s sports have not received the opportunities and funding that men’s sports received in the past decades which enabled them to develop and advance far more than women’s sports.”

She said that attitudes toward women in sport could be helped by promoting equal access to sports media and the various sports in educational institutions under the Ministry of Sports.

Any promotion has to be cultur- ally sensitive, and abiding by the public decency regulations is important to gaining acceptance, she added.


Saudi and US forces train in weapons of mass destruction crisis management

The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
Updated 37 sec ago

Saudi and US forces train in weapons of mass destruction crisis management

The Saudi Armed Forces and the US forces continue the Prevention Shield-3 exercise. (Saudi Ministry of Defense)
  • Royal Saudi Naval Forces launched a mixed bilateral naval exercise with their Egyptian counterparts

RIYADH: The Saudi Armed Forces continued a joint exercise with US forces to train and plan for crisis management resulting from weapons of mass destruction, the Kingdom’s defense ministry said on Sunday.
Several government agencies also participated in the “Prevention Shield-3” exercise, which began several days ago.
Col. Bader bin Saad Al-Theban, the spokesman for the exercise, said that the first phase of the drill was successfully carried out under the supervision of the general supervisor of the exercise, Maj. Gen. Khalid bin Saeed Abu Qais. 
He said several seminars, workshops and lectures were held on protection from weapons of mass destruction, and commanders and staff were trained in planning to manage crises.
Al-Theban added that the second phase of the exercise started on Sunday and a number of tasks and practical hypotheses have been implemented, such as warning, disinfection, reconnaissance, exposure to a ballistic missile attack loaded with a chemical agent, pollution of surrounding areas and casualties, which requires rapid intervention.
He thanked all the participants in the exercise from the US forces, branches of the Saudi armed forces, the Ministry of Health, Civil Defense and the Saudi Red Crescent for their efforts to make the exercise a success.
Meanwhile, the Royal Saudi Naval Forces launched a mixed bilateral naval exercise with their Egyptian counterparts at King Faisal Naval Base in the Western Fleet.
Rear Admiral Yahya bin Mohammed Al-Asiri, the commander of the Western Fleet, said that the “Morjan 17” exercise aims to strengthen relations and joint cooperation, and raise the level of combat readiness and preparedness between both countries’ naval forces.
It also aims to unify operational concepts between the two sides to confront regional threats, and exchange expertise in methods and ways of implementing naval missions. It also contributes to developing unit crews in naval wars and special forces missions to protect the maritime safety, regional and international waterways and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, he added.
The exercise is an extension of a series of previous joint exercises between the two countries, and includes many maneuvers that enhance maritime security measures in the region.


Resident injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area

Resident injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area
Updated 16 min 20 sec ago

Resident injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area

Resident injured in Houthi ballistic missile attack on Saudi industrial area
  • Coalition said this was third Houthi attempt to target civilians of different nationalities in the industrial area
  • The “vicious and brutal attack” would be dealt with firmly, the coalition added

RIYADH: A resident sustained minor injuries after the Houthis fired a ballistic missile that fell in the industrial area of Ahad Al-Masarihah, Jazan, the coalition said on Sunday.

The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen said this was the third Houthi attempt to target civilians of different nationalities in the industrial area situated in the Kingdom’s south western region.

The “vicious and brutal attack” would be dealt with firmly, the coalition said.

The coalition also said it had intercepted and destroyed two drones that were launched from Yemen’s Al-Jouf governorate.

Meanwhile, Yemen's defense ministry said it had received “shocking” information about the Houthi militia executing its fighters who had withdrawn from combat and refused to fight.

“We have given directions to our units to receive the retreating Houthi fighters,” the ministry said.

It promised safety and good treatment to withdrawing Houthi fighters “in accordance with international legitimacy, norms, and laws.”

“Those who have withdrawn are guests whom we will receive, and we will provide them with all help, support, and assistance to return to their areas when they wish,” the ministry said.


Saudi statistics authority prepares for fifth national census

GASTAT recently started working on a 40-day electronic business statistics survey, which aims to provide accurate statistical data. (Twitter: @Stats_Saudi)
GASTAT recently started working on a 40-day electronic business statistics survey, which aims to provide accurate statistical data. (Twitter: @Stats_Saudi)
Updated 43 min 49 sec ago

Saudi statistics authority prepares for fifth national census

GASTAT recently started working on a 40-day electronic business statistics survey, which aims to provide accurate statistical data. (Twitter: @Stats_Saudi)
  • Satellite imagery to ensure comprehensive coverage of Kingdom’s regions

JEDDAH: The Saudi General Authority for Statistics is preparing to carry out the country’s fifth housing and population census, including the use of satellite imagery to help ensure more comprehensive coverage of the Kingdom’s regions.

The census plays a key role in achieving the goals for the country’s economic and social transformation, as outlined in Vision 2030.

A preliminary estimate of the Saudi population as of mid-2020 was 35,013,414. The previous census processes took place in 1974, 1992, 2004, and 2010.

The last survey showed that the country’s population was 27,136,977, with more than 6,915,000 people in the Makkah region, the highest of the country’s 13 administrative regions.

GASTAT said it had prepared a plan for its upcoming census after a comprehensive study of the requirements of its beneficiaries from government agencies, and based on global best practices and standards for population census models used in G20 countries as well as by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

FASTFACT

35 million

A preliminary estimate of the Saudi population as of mid-2020 was 35,013,414.

The authority said that modern technology would be used for the first time in conducting its census operations, including the use of satellite imagery to help ensure more comprehensive coverage of the Kingdom’s regions, identifying unregistered dwellings at national addresses, and developing a data collection mechanism to include digital self-enumeration, a new method of collecting data through the authority’s publicly accessible portal, as well as updating the census form to assist decision-makers, according to international best practices.

GASTAT said it was fully committed to the highest levels of privacy, confidentiality, and protection for the data of those included in the census, and any personal information related to their identities. It also undertook not to share any collected information with or disclose it to any third party.

Last September, GASTAT carried out a pilot census covering seven Saudi cities in Tabuk, AlUla, Makkah, Asir, Diriyah, Riyadh, and the Eastern Province. It was meant to test the form along with the working tools to be used in the general population and housing census.

Self-enumeration, electronically filling out questionnaires, and other statistical methods were also applied before the final census work, which is expected to begin in a few months.

GASTAT recently started working on a 40-day electronic business statistics survey, which aims to provide accurate statistical data and indicators on establishments that carry out various economic activities in Saudi Arabia.

It said the survey was done in coordination with government bodies and that the questionnaires were based on specific statistical criteria to assure accurate statistical data and indicators.

The pilot census also included the numbering of buildings, along with their components of housing units and households, in addition to counting the population and individuals in labor camps and public housing, and identifying their demographic, social, and economic characteristics, to obtain accurate and timely results.

GASTAT said it was the only official statistical reference for statistical data and information in the Kingdom.

It added that it implemented all statistical work and technical supervision of the sector, which included an ecosystem of statistical centers and units established in the administrative structures of government agencies and several private sector institutions.

Most countries conduct a comprehensive census of their population, housing, and establishments every 10 years to provide accurate and detailed data about the population and its distribution according to their place of residence, their social and economic characteristics, such as the educational level and educational qualifications obtained, the economic status of individuals, the professions practiced by workers, the type of economic sector to which they belong, and the economic activity of the entities in which they work.

 


Who’s Who: Munir bin Mahmoud El-Desouki, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology

Munir bin Mahmoud El-Desouki. (Supplied)
Munir bin Mahmoud El-Desouki. (Supplied)
Updated 29 min 51 sec ago

Who’s Who: Munir bin Mahmoud El-Desouki, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology

Munir bin Mahmoud El-Desouki. (Supplied)

Munir bin Mahmoud El-Desouki was recently appointed president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology by royal decree.
He had previously served as acting president of KACST since April 2021.
El-Desouki supervised the founding team of the Research, Development and Innovation Authority. He has also been an adviser to the authority’s chairman since July 2021.
Before than, El-Desouki served as assistant minister at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. He also worked as deputy minister for development and planning in the same ministry, and as senior adviser to the minister.
He gained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in 2002. He also received a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from McMaster University, Canada, in 2005.
Two years later, he completed a master’s degree in engineering entrepreneurship and innovation from McMaster University.
In 2010, he obtained a Ph.D. from the same university in electrical and computer engineering, specializing in CMOS sensors for low-level light biomedical applications and high-speed non-invasive fluorescence lifetime imaging systems.
El-Desouki has won numerous awards and prizes, including the 2014 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prize for inventors and the talented for his work in electrical engineering, titled “Development through Time Integration.”
He has published more than 85 scientific papers and articles in scientific journals, and has received more than 20 patents.


Saudi foreign minister meets former German chancellor in Riyadh

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. (SPA)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. (SPA)
Updated 23 January 2022

Saudi foreign minister meets former German chancellor in Riyadh

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan held talks with the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, in the capital Riyadh, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.
During the meeting, they “reviewed the historical and distinguished relations between the Kingdom and Germany,” and ways of developing them in different fields.
They also discussed ways of strengthening joint coordination to serve both countries, as well as regional and international developments.