Middle East

Saudi woman named first editor-in-chief of newspaper

Front page of Saudi Gazette on 16 February 2014 Image copyright Saudi Gazette
Image caption Somayya Jabarti said she felt a great sense of responsibility

A woman has been named editor-in-chief of a daily newspaper for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

The English-language Saudi Gazette announced on its website that Somayya Jabarti would succeed Khaled Almaeena.

In Sunday's edition of the paper, he wrote Ms Jabarti had won the opportunity on merit, describing her as a determined and dedicated journalist.

Ms Jabarti meanwhile said: "A crack has been made in the glass ceiling. And I'm hoping it will be made into a door."

In an interview with al-Arabiya News, she admitted she felt a great sense of responsibility.

"My actions will reflect upon my fellow Saudi women," she explained.

Ms Jabarti said she had not encountered any sexism at the Gazette.

"The majority of our reporters are women - not because we are biased and choosing women over men. There are more women who are interested in being journalists, and who are journalists."

Before joining the Gazette in March 2011 and becoming deputy editor-in-chief, Ms Jabarti worked at the rival newspaper, Arab News.

Mr Almaeena, who edited Arab News from 1982 to 1993 and 1998 to 2011, wrote: "She has been associated with me for almost 13 years, and I've had the goal almost as long of wanting to see a Saudi woman enter the male-dominated bastion of editors-in-chief."

"It was not a question of gender but of merit that decided and earned her this opportunity," he added.

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