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Groundbreaking Saudi TV anchor Weam Al Dakheel. (Twitter)
Groundbreaking Saudi TV anchor Weam Al Dakheel. (Twitter)

Change is happening

Saudi journalist makes TV history in groundbreaking evening news broadcast

By WITW Staff on September 24, 2018

Score one for women all over the world.

Saudi Arabia’s state-run news broadcast was co-anchored by a woman for the first time in history last week — a major milestone in the conservative kingdom where women must often seek permission from a man to work, travel, or get married.

Weam Al Dakheel, a former reporter for CNBC Arabia, co-presented the 9:30 p.m. news bulletin, and went viral as a result. Her appearance was especially notable considering the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia: a recent Thomson Reuters Foundation poll ranked Saudi Arabia as the second worst place for women after Afghanistan, especially in regards to economic opportunities and discriminatory policies, as reported by The Daily Mail.

“Jumanah AlShami was the first woman to present morning newscasts in 2016. Today history repeats itself as #WeamAlDakheel becomes the presenter of the main nightly newscast, setting a precedent in a historic first for Saudi TV 1,” Saudi TV said on its official Twitter channel, according to India’s NDTV.

The state-run news channel was recently relaunched as part of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan dubbed “Vision 2030,” which aims to encourage and allow more women to enter the workforce over the next decade. The modernization of the kingdom also loosened rules that now allow women to drive, attend soccer games, and become employed in more jobs that aren’t traditionally “female.” To be sure, though, there is still a long way to go as critics point to the kingdom’s guardianship laws as oppressive to women.

But Al Dakheel is now the new face of that modernization, and received praise across social media. With visibility being such an important part of the expansion of women’s rights, it makes you want to ensure every young girl in the kingdom is allowed to stay up to watch the news every night.

Read the full story at The Daily Mail.


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