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Demand Equity

Woman Anchors Saudi Arabia Nightly News in Historic Broadcast

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Women in Saudi Arabia have long been prevented from employment in various industries due to traditional gender roles. But the increase of women taking on new careers in the nation is helping to strike down many antiquated and discriminatory social constructs. You can take action here to help eliminate gender discrimination.

In a boundary-breaking broadcast, a woman anchored Saudi Arabia’s nightly news last week.

Weam Al-Dakheel became the first woman ever to deliver the news alongside a male co-host on the state-run channel Thursday night, reported the Washington Post.

“Jumanah AlShami was the first woman to present morning newscasts in 2016. Today history repeats itself as Weam Al Dakheel becomes the presenter of the main nightly newscast, setting a precedent in a historic first for Saudi TV 1,” the channel posted on its Twitter account.

Al-Dakheel had previously worked at Al-Arab news in Bahrain and CNBC Arabia, according to Times of Israel. But after she assumed co-anchor duties alongside male anchor Omar Al-Nashwan during the 9:30 p.m. newscast, her visage has since been shared around the world.

The promotion is part of a broader effort to integrate women into the workforce, noted the Washington Post. When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled an ambitious Vision 2030 plan last year designed to modernize Saudi Arabia and expand the economy beyond oil exports, part of that strategy involved reinvigorating local industries with more female employees.

Read More: Vietnam Just Got Its First Female President, but Activists Are Unimpressed

Women currently hold 22% of the country’s jobs, according to the report. Salman’s hope is that they will make up a third of the workforce by 2030.

Still, critics of the crown prince have pointed out that while the optics of Vision 2030 are positive, the reality is that more than a dozen women’s rights activists in the country have been detained and arrested since his appointment in June 2017.