Muslim women who wear headscarves face workplace discrimination in US: study

Professor Sonia Ghumman from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Shidler College of Business has completed an intensive marketing research on the effects of Muslim women who wear hijabs (head scarves) in the U.S.

Ghumman's research examined the expectations that who wear hijabs have regarding their employment opportunities. "We surveyed 219 American Muslim women on their job seeking experience," said Ghumman. "The findings reveal that Hijabis are not only aware of their stigma of being Muslim, but also expect to be treated differently in the workplace as a result of this stigma."

The survey found 30 percent of women who wear hijabs were concerned about applying for work, 88 percent said they were not willing to take off their hijabs when applying for work, 63 percent said they were aware of incidences where women wearing hijabs were refused work, and 22 percent said they were personally denied work because of their attire.

Ghumman's research also cites several variables that may contribute to the lack of employment opportunities. For example, employers shy away from hiring Hijabis if the job requires high public contact such as a food server or salesperson, requires a certain kind of attire for health and safety reasons, or if the job is an executive/managerial position.

According to Ghumman, Muslim women wear the hijab as a religious requirement and expression of their Muslim identity. Yet, many Muslim women feel they are stereotyped as unprofessional, archaic, and even as a terrorist.

Unlike other religious groups who wear religious attire, Hijabis are increasingly subjected to discrimination in the workplace. According to a report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC, 2003), there was a 153 percent increase in claims by Muslims after the 9/11 attack in New York City.

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Provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa
Citation: Muslim women who wear headscarves face workplace discrimination in US: study (2010, September 28) retrieved 22 July 2019 from
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Sep 28, 2010
I wonder what a Christian's job prospects are like when wearing a cross in a Muslim nation.

Sep 28, 2010
How many tax dollars have we invested in Dr. Ghumman's so-called career so far to create a new victim class?

Maybe I would have more sympathy if she studied the job and life prospects of Muslim women in, say, Muslim countries, regardless of whether they wear the not-exactly-required-or-ever-mentioned hijab.

Wearing the hijab in America sends a general message: I am going to be difficult, at best. Other overzealous expressions of faith or ethnocentrism are equally inappropriate, and will turn off most employers.

This is not science, folks.

Nov 07, 2010
I think the majority of people in America are critical of other cultures, especially Muslims. Its closed-minded employer’s (and people in general) that are difficult. As for Christian’s working in Muslim countries: I am one of those people. I’m a teacher that was hired two years ago, from a job fair in America, to work at an international school in Egypt. In the two years that I have been with the school, I have never been discriminated against or asked to remove any religious emblems. I’m actually treated with more respect than my Egyptian co-workers who do wear a hijab.
In the school, French and German teachers are also employed and most of the Europeans actually regard Americans as being racist and ignorant to other cultures. Congratulations to the three posters above me, you confirmed their views of American’s with your ignorant comments.

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