The New Arab at 7: Championing women in journalism
This article is one in a series to celebrate The New Arab's website relaunch. To read the others in the series click here.
Over the last two years, we have lived through some of the defining stories of a generation: A global pandemic has left no life untouched.
In the MENA, fierce youth protests over unrepresentative and failing governments resurfaced, only to be quelled by the virus. Palestinians are today resisting a new reality normalised by the US and several Arab states with no regard to their right to self-determination. And in the US, established centres of power and privilege have begun a long-overdue reckoning with the devastating impacts of their past.
As our newsroom worked to keep up with these rapidly changing and significant events, our opinion journalism was guided by the mission on which our work was founded: Seven years ago, we set out to be an authentic voice for the MENA region and beyond, challenging stereotypes and bringing diverse voices to a media landscape where they have so often been lacking.
"To truly represent the diversity and complexity of our region, it was clear that women and their experiences should play a greater role"
To do this, and to truly represent the diversity and complexity of our region, it was clear that women and their experiences should play a greater role.
As the scale of the pandemic began to emerge, we listened carefully to women about how their lives were being impacted: Rates of domestic violence went up, women disproportionately lost their jobs, and the burden of unpaid work increased dramatically.
When protests swept Lebanon, we brought you the voices of the women organising and leading them. As Yemen and Libya elected new leaders, we handed the mic to women campaigning for better representation in government.
When Turkey rolled back basic protections for women, our opinion writers spoke out. And as the US geared up for its 2020 election, activists, community organisers and academics from diaspora communities all over the US weighed in on their struggles and hopes for the future.
Driving all of this coverage is the desire to portray people and debates with the nuance and empathy they deserve. When the #MeToo movement gained traction, we didn’t shy away from candid discussions of sexual assault. On our opinion pages, we have made space for thoughtful debate about the shape of liberation, empowerment, and patriarchy across different cultures, and the tensions that arise.
Today, The New Arab’s opinion section is proud to platform prominent thought leaders, politicians, academics, lawyers, and journalists who are all experts in their field, alongside community voices and influencers.
This week, The New Arab launches its new website. As we look ahead to the next decade of journalism, we are excited to build on this solid foundation - where representation and diversity have been firmly established as the norm - and consider how we can strive to better meet the needs of our audience.
"We are excited to build on this solid foundation, where representation and diversity have been firmly established as the norm"
In a world where democracy and freedom of speech are so routinely under threat, our opinion journalism aims not just to lift up valuable voices, but to position itself as a hub for healthy debate and civic engagement.
To do this, we know that listening will be key, and The New Arab pledges to listen to the communities our journalism serves, to make sure that we animate debate and opinion coverage that is relevant, thought-provoking, and necessary. In short, we pledge to meet our readers where they are to help them better navigate the questions and challenges of our society.
Over the last 18 months, we have had to learn to live with more uncertainty than we might have liked. The future of work in a post-Covid world – and its long-term impact on women – is unclear.
"On our opinion pages, we have made space for thoughtful debate about the shape of liberation, empowerment, and patriarchy across different cultures, and the tensions that arise"
The uprisings demanding an end to male-dominated, elitist, and corrupt political systems have still to regain their momentum. And whether we will commit to an honest reckoning with the impact of our colonial history - be it in Algeria, Palestine, the US, or beyond - remains to be seen. The challenges are many, but so are the opportunities for growth and reasons for hope.
As The New Arab generation of all genders and orientations emerges, we will humbly bear witness to these transformations while holding our work to the highest standards of journalistic integrity. We will go forward in the spirit of allyship, as women garner not just visibility or a seat at the table, but the power to reform these systems, for the benefit of all society.
Katy Stone is the Opinion Editor at The New Arab.
Follow her on Twitter: @KatyRoseStone
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