Viewers were greeted to a new sight in Saudi Arabia when they tuned to one of the state-owned TV channels on Thursday: a woman presenting the main evening news bulletin!
Weam Al Dakheel entered the history books when she appeared alongside anchor Omar Al Nashwan to become the first female in the history of state-owned Saudi TV Channel 1 to present the nightly 9:30 newscast. Traditionally, men have dominated hard newscasts in Saudi Arabia, while female presenters focused more on soft morning newscasts, women’s programmes, cooking shows, and weather updates.
“Jumanah AlShami was the first women 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.
The empowerment of Saudi women is a key pillar of Saudi Vision 2030, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and a series of reforms initiated in the Kingdom were aimed at the empowerment of women. Notable among these moves was a Royal Decree issued in September 2017 by King Salman bin Abdulaziz allowing women to drive as of June 24, 2018. Vision 2030 also aims to increase the percentage of women in the workforce. The past year saw the entrance of some 600,000 Saudi women to the workforce.