A newscaster became the news in Saudi Arabia as Weam Al-Dakheel read news with a male newscaster for public news channel Al Saudiya’s 9:30PM news bulletin on Thursday, Sep 20, 2018. She went on air as the first woman to anchor a state-run newscast. For some perspective, it was just this past summer that women won the right to drive cars in Saudi Arabia.

Weam Al-Dakheel is a Saudi Arabian journalist who has been operations manager for Saudi TV at the Saudi Broadcasting Authority since January 2018. Al-Dakheel graduated from the Lebanese American University in 2011. She holds a BA degree in journalism and speaks three languages: Arabic, English, and French. In 2017, she earned a diploma in gender in development and humanitarian assistance from the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World. In addition, she received TV presentation courses at Focus Academy for Training and Media Development, and Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center. Previously, she worked as a news presenter at Al-Arab News Channel, based in Bahrain, for two years and eight months between 2014 and 2017.  She also worked as a TV reporter for CNBC Arabia between September 2012 and November 2013. Her journey in media started with an internship at Dar Al-Hayat newspaper office in Beirut, Lebanon. She worked there between 2010 and 2011.

The journalist received praise on social media, with Twitter users complimenting her work and pointing out that her appearance marked a milestone in the deeply conservative kingdom.

Before this, the Saudi government has granted permission of driving to women. Saudi women can also drive airplanes and can work at various public places. They even can take part in various forms of sports including soccer. They can be a tour guide. These steps have been taken since the new royal government under the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has assumed responsibility. Prince’s Vision 2030 seems to be the major driver behind these changes. Prince really wants to modernize the kingdom, the fact which really was a dream in the past. Giving women freedom to drive, do jobs, take part in sports is the part of this vision which will lead towards modernization.

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Source: arabnews.com, dunyannews.com

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