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Glac09
04-08-2016, 10:21 PM
Educated Muslim women in the UK are much less likely to be employed than non-Muslim women, even when they have the same qualifications, according to new research.

The Independent reports that a study by Dr Nabil Khattab of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Dr Shereen Hussein of King’s College London found that the unemployment rate for Muslim women is between 5.9 per cent and 27 percent depending on the woman’s ethnic background. By contrast, the rate for white non-Muslim women is 3.5 percent.

A similar gap was noted among professional occupations whereby 8.5 percent to 23 percent of Muslim women are employed depending on ethnicity, compared to 32 percent of white non-Muslim women.

The study dismissed the idea that this was because Muslim women may be less likely to have educational qualifications than other social groups, as the same trends were observed even when both Muslim and non-Muslim women had the exact same credentials.

The research involved data analysis of more than a quarter of a million women’s lives. It was presented at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference.

Dr Khattab said: “Economic activity among Muslim women in the UK remains considerably lower and their unemployment rate remains significantly higher than the majority group even after controlling for qualifications and other individual characteristics.”

He added that Muslim women’s dress might reveal their religion to potential employers in more obvious ways than Muslim men or non-Muslim women, which enabled Islamophobic employers to discriminate. He said: “They wear a hijab or other religious symbols which makes them more visible and as such exposed to greater discrimination.”

Last year hate crimes against Muslims in London were found to have risen by 70 per cent upon the previous year. In particular, the Met Police noted a number of Islamophobic incidents in which women wearing headscarves were attacked and strangers attempted to remove their veils.

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MuslimInshallah
04-09-2016, 01:17 AM
Assalaamu alaikum,

(sigh) This is the same sad reality that Muslim women face in Canada. I personally know of educated Muslim women who wear headscarves that have found it very difficult to get work. A good friend of mine who is truly gifted in her field, was even told to her face that she had great credentials, but her scarf was a problem. If she would take it off...


Muslim females encounter more difficulties in the labour market than other communities with similar demographic and education profiles, and in spite of the favourable changes in the Muslim female labour force, the labour market outcomes have not improved for them.

Unemployment among Muslim females is high and persistent. Some 16.7 per cent of Muslim females 15 years of age and older were unemployed in 2011, a figure more than double the national average of 7.4 per cent for all Canadian women. They fared poorly compared with other faith communities. Only the women practising traditional spirituality (Aboriginal) faced higher unemployment than Muslim women and girls. This is in spite of the fact that proportionately twice as many Muslim women as all Canadian women specialize in STEM and twice as many use both official languages at work.

Source: http://ccmw.com/canadian-muslim-wome...-2001-to-2011/


May God, the Equitable, Help us to be self-restrained, but firm, in our struggles for fair treatment.

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Pygoscelis
04-10-2016, 05:05 AM
Sad but not surprising.

MuslimInshallah, Canada has strict laws that forbid the kind of discrimination your friend may have faced. She may have grounds to sue that employer if she can prove she was turned away merely because of her religion.

One thing that pops into my mind is did this study include any women who wear full on burkas? Because if so... I can see why somebody wouldn't want to hire one of them, especially if customer service was part of the job. Few coworkers or customers would want to deal with somebody wearing a mask all the time. It would also signify cultural problems and interpersonal issues that may be best avoided. For example, somebody that hardcore may not want to work alone with a male co-worker, etc.
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MuslimInshallah
04-10-2016, 11:51 AM
Greetings Pygoscelis,


(mildly) Yes, I know Canada has laws... but it is not easy to prove such things. And suing someone takes years and money. Many women don't have these kinds of resources. Plus, who wants to be a banner case? It might be even harder to find work afterwards, if your name is well-known.

(sigh) And many women who are discriminated against are first-generation women. They don't feel the same level of confidence in our laws and legal system, nor the same sense of their personal rights as a born Canadian might.

The friend I mentioned has more than one story of frank discrimination and harassment on the job specifically because of her faith. (sigh) Have I told her she has rights, and that she could defend herself? Yes. But she won't. She says things like: if they don't want me to work there, then how can I force them? How could I work there after I force them? She also seems to think that if she is good and competent and doesn't cause any trouble, that this will give a better image of Islam to others.

As for full burkas... frankly, I don't know of a single woman who wears one. I very occasionally meet a woman in a niqab, but I don't know of one who is seeking employment. The women I know either wear headscarves or don't wear anything on their heads. (sigh) And taking off your scarf doesn't guarantee you ease in finding employment, as one woman I know found out. (gently) Some people do judge you on your "Muslimy" looks, you know. If you have a certain skin tone or accent... people tend to assume you are Muslim. And then some assume bad things about you. (pensively) I think that's why the Middle Eastern-origin Christians tend to clearly make their faith known: to avoid the discrimination that Muslims get.

As for assuming that someone who wears a niqab would be difficult about dealing with men... I question on what you base this assumption. You know, when my last child was born, we had to be hospitalized when she was just a few days old; we were both very ill (infection). One day, a female nurse came and berated me because a male nurse felt he couldn't change my IV, because I was Muslim (I wear a headscarf). This astonished me! I hadn't said anything (he hadn't even tried to come into my room, or ask me, or anything). He had just assumed (incorrectly), that I would not want him to change my IV. And then blamed me for it. And then complained to the other staff. Who also blamed me for it.

(mildly) Incidentally, people work with others who wear real masks all the time (not niqabs, which are not masks... this is a negative way of terming what they wear, and carries negative value judgements). Anyone who needs to protect others from contamination (nurses, pharmacists and doctors, for instance), or who needs to protect their own lungs from particles or chemicals (painters, construction workers, farmers, for instance)... will wear masks as part of their work. And they are not harder to deal with and more difficult than others. (mildly) I think that before leaping to conclusions, you might try actually interacting with a few Muslim women on the job. You may find some difficult ones, as you may find in any group. But I think you would find that Muslim women can be as professional as anyone else.

(pensively) I don't want to say by all this that all Canadians treat Muslims badly. This is just not true. Many Canadians can be open-minded and kind. But there are a minority who are really not nice. And there are quite a few with hidden assumptions that are discriminatory without thinking. These last are fairly easy to deal with. You just have to make them more aware of what they are doing, and they correct themselves. For instance, when I was working as a deputy returning officer during the last elections, I started keeping track of who looked to me, or who preferred to address my poll clerk (I was the person people were supposed to show their ID to). I had talked with my poll clerk before the polls opened, and explained to her about the discrimination I had experienced in the past doing this work (and I have had some very unpleasant situations...). She was an open-minded person, and we established what we would do in case someone got aggressive with me. She also would subtly direct people (with body language) to address me, if they were not sure whom to address. I also made eye-contact, smiled and greeted the voters, so they would know whom to address. I discovered that about 1/3 of the people would still address my poll clerk. If she then verbally directed them to me, most would. I therefore tried to increase my assertiveness. When greeting a voter, I would not only say hello a little louder, but I would put my hand very clearly out to take their ID and voter cards. This resulted in more people addressing me and giving me their ID, rather than to my poll clerk. For these people, I realized that they possibly identified a position of power more with my white, conventionally-dressed poll clerk. When made consciously aware of the true situation however, they adapted, and were pleasant. But there was a hard core of about 5-10% of people who, even when made aware of the situation, were not pleasant. They would not look at me, or even talk to me. They would insist on giving their ID to my poll clerk (who would then promptly hand it to me), pretended I did not exist, made sour faces, and would not respond to my polite instructions or thanks after they had voted.

I think Muslim women are having trouble finding work because of both conscious and unconscious bias. We have a deep and ancient belief in our society that someone who wears a headscarf is a subjugated and somewhat incompetent person. (smile) If you have seen the Disney cartoon movie Beauty and the Beast... did you notice that when Belle is contemplating her life as the subjugated wife of the odious Gaston, she puts a scarf on her head? And that when she rejects this subjugation, she whips it off again? We learn these stereotypes as young children. And so, they are hard to counter. When looking at an employee, employers tend to quickly assess you in the first few minutes. And if part of that assessment is an unconscious feeling that you are a less-competent person... this is rather damaging.

(sigh) And then you have the nasty 5-10%.

(mildly) So rather than looking for ways to justify why a Muslim woman might find it harder to find employment in Canada than many (in ways that suggest that she is somehow to blame), I think it would be much more fruitful to consider how we can deal with these deep stereotypes. And how we can support the more vulnerable.

(smile) I suspect that once you think about this, you will agree. I don't think you mean to be discriminatory in your thoughts. You have always struck me as someone who would like to be open-minded. Honestly, human beings naturally tend to stereotype and discriminate. We all do it. (smile) But those who struggle to do what is good and right try to overcome this human tendency in order to be more just and caring.

And I think you are one such person.


May God Bless you, Pygoscelis.
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ardianto
04-10-2016, 04:31 PM
For business owner and human resource officer, the job seeker level of education is not so important. What the important is character and personality which cover creativity, discipline, communication skill, adaptation ability with working environment and other people, etc. Very possible, characters and personalities of those Muslim women assumed as less suitable with working environment in the field that they want to work.

Is there bias in this matter?. Very possible. From what I have observed, image of Muslim women, especially practicing Muslim, in the eyes of non-Muslims in the West is not so good. They are often assumed as rigid and less able to adapt with working colleagues and working atmosphere.
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Pygoscelis
04-10-2016, 11:03 PM
Originally Posted by MuslimInshallah
I think Muslim women are having trouble finding work because of both conscious and unconscious bias. We have a deep and ancient belief in our society that someone who wears a headscarf is a subjugated and somewhat incompetent person. (smile) If you have seen the Disney cartoon movie Beauty and the Beast... did you notice that when Belle is contemplating her life as the subjugated wife of the odious Gaston, she puts a scarf on her head? And that when she rejects this subjugation, she whips it off again? We learn these stereotypes as young children. And so, they are hard to counter. When looking at an employee, employers tend to quickly assess you in the first few minutes. And if part of that assessment is an unconscious feeling that you are a less-competent person... this is rather damaging.
Plain old tribal bigotry is still sadly rampant in our society - against everyone in varying degrees from muslims to gays to atheists to blacks etc. Other than that, regarding women wearing veils, I don't think it has as much to do with prejudice regarding competence as to do with prejudice regarding attitudes and cultural outlooks, and I don't think it is entirely unjustified in that. If I see a woman walking down the street in a burka... I am going to steer a clear path... not because I particularly fear or loathe her, but because I presume my interaction with her could be more trouble than it is worth to either of us, and it is easier to just respectfully distance myself from her. She is purposefully wearing a garment (which also acts as a symbol) that basically tells me she wants to not be seen by me... she is literally putting a barrier between us... so why is it wrong for me to treat her likewise?

From what I have learned here and elsewhere about Islam, those conservative and hardcore enough to wear that are bound to be offended by something I do or say, if not by my mere proximity. I am after all a very liberal atheist... her polar opposite. I grew up with unisex bathrooms and nude beaches. My views would definitely offend her if she knew them. My day to day behaviour may as well.

I remember when I first encountered a muslima in a niqab. I could tell that I shouldn't flirt with her or make too much eye contact, but I never would have guessed it would be unwelcome to shake hands or even be alone in the same room as her. As I learned that later from various Muslims my reaction was one of distancing myself. Who knows what other cultural clashes there could be with a woman in a full on burka. I'd rather avoid her than feel I need to walk on eggshells around her.

The behaviour of the male nurse you mentioned in your encounter above may have had a similar origin, though if you were just wearing a headscarf the guy was way over reacting, but he probably just felt it simpler to have a female attend to you, so he isn't causing discomfort.

As an atheist who has lived my whole life around religious people of various intensity and brands, from hippy flower power krishnas to ultra conservative firebrand baptists, I have learned to simply avoid once it reaches a particular level. I admit that fairly or unfairly this may creep into my preferences of who I would prefer working with on a job.
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