Woman Anchors Saudi Arabia Nightly News in Historic Broadcast
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.
This is BIG from #SaudiArabia| for the 1st time ever a #Saudi female newscaster is featured on #Saudi national tv @saudiatv- @WeamAlDakheel becomes the 1st #SaudiFemale to read the 21:30 main— حسن سجواني 🇦🇪 Hassan Sajwani (@HSajwanization) September 21, 2018
night news on TV ! 💚🇸🇦 pic.twitter.com/MTC5b2I9Kg
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.
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.