Women and Career Obstacles in Saudi Media

Posted on January 29, 2007

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Source: “Empowering Women in Saudi Media.” by Maha Akeel, Arab News.

Islam has guaranteed women’s right to participate in making decisions concerning her life, her money and her community and therefore she has the right to be represented in every organization and institution that affects her directly or indirectly. [A]fter […] years of working in the press, women represent less than 8 percent of the total employees in any of Saudi Arabia’s newspapers. There are no women in administration, production and technical fields and the majority of the women work only part-time. The highest position a woman can hope to achieve is the head of the women’s department or managing editor in the women’s department, if there is a women’s department.

In radio and television, women comprise around 5 percent of total employees. They have reached high positions within the local radio and television stations but not at the administrative and executive level in the Ministry of Information. These findings have not changed much since. In the study, three general obstacles were identified as standing in the way of women’s progress in the media. The first is the social and cultural obstacles, which include family pressure, negative perception of women working in the media, segregation in the work place and restrictions on her movements and travel. Added to that is the lack of college majors in journalism and media for girls, which puts them at a disadvantage from the start with their male colleagues. The second category of obstacles is the organizational structure of the media institutions that limits women’s career opportunities. The third group of obstacles is the discrimination between men and women in terms of salaries, media content and the way of being treated. [more]

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