A short note on Workplace discrimination against hijab-wearing women - Hijabophobia
To be specific, Muslim women shared that they chose not to wear the headscarf out of fear of future discrimination. The discrimination Muslim women face goes beyond affecting their work experience, it also interferes with their decision to uphold religious obligations. As a result of discrimination Muslim women in the United States have worries regarding their ability to follow their religion because it might mean they are rejected for employment. Ali,
The issue of discrimination of Muslims is more prevalent among Muslim women due to the hijab being an observable declaration of faith. Particularly after the September 11 attacks and the coining of the term Islamophobia, some of Islamophobia's manifestations are seen within the workplace.
Women wearing the hijab are at risk of discrimination in their workplace because the hijab helps identify them for anyone who may hold Islamophobic attitudes. Their association with the Islamic faith automatically projects any negative stereotyping of the religion onto them.
As a result of the heightened discrimination, some Muslim women in the workplace resort to taking off their hijab in hopes to prevent any further prejudiced acts. A number of Muslim women who were interviewed expressed that perceived discrimination also poses a problem for them. (((hijab and attack, hijab discrimination, HIjabophobia,)))
To be specific, Muslim women shared that they chose not to wear the headscarf out of fear of future discrimination. The discrimination Muslim women face goes beyond affecting their work experience, it also interferes with their decision to uphold religious obligations.
As a result of discrimination Muslim women in the United States have worries regarding their ability to follow their religion because it might mean they are rejected for employment. Ali, Yamada, and Mahmoud (2015) state that women of colour who also follow the religion of Islam are considered to be in what is called “triple jeopardy”, due to being a part of two minority groups subject to discrimination.
Ali et al. (2015) study found a relationship between the discrimination Muslims face at work and their job satisfaction. In other words, the discrimination Muslim women face at work is associated with their overall feeling of contentment of their jobs, especially compared to other religious groups. Muslim women not only experience discrimination whilst in their job environment, but they also experience discrimination in their attempts to get a job.
An experimental study conducted on potential hiring discrimination among Muslims found that in terms of overt discrimination there were no differences between Muslim women who wore traditional Islamic clothing and those who did not. However, covert discrimination was noted towards Muslims who wore the hijab, and as a result, were dealt with in a hostile and rude manner.
While observing hiring practices among 4,000 employers in the U.S, experimenters found that employers who self-identified as Republican tended to avoid making interviews with candidates who appeared Muslim on their social network pages. One instance that some view as hijab discrimination in the workplace that gained public attention and made it to the Supreme Court was EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch.
The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took advantage of its power granted by Title VII and made a case for a young hijabi female who applied for a job, but was rejected due to her wearing a headscarf which violated Abercrombie & Fitch's pre-existing and longstanding policy against head coverings and all-black garments.
Discrimination levels differ depending on geographical location; for example, South Asian Muslims in the United Arab Emirates do not perceive as much discrimination as their South Asian counterparts in the U.S. Although, South Asian Muslim women in both locations are similar in describing discrimination experiences as subtle and indirect interactions.
The same study also reports differences between South Asian Muslim women who wear the hijab, and those who do not. For non-hijabis, they reported having experienced more perceived discrimination when they were around other Muslims.
Perceived discrimination is detrimental to well-being, both mentally and physically. However, perceived discrimination may also be related to more positive well-being for the individual. A study in New Zealand concluded that while Muslim women who wore the headscarf did in fact experience discrimination, these negative experiences were overcome by much higher feelings of religious pride, belonging, and centrality.