Document Type


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Publication Title

Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work


employment, discrimination, gender, hijab, headscarf, hiring, labor market, Muslim, Women, unemployment


This study tested the hypothesis that Muslim women who wear the hijab are disadvantaged in employment processes relative to their counterparts who do not wear the hijab. A meta-analysis synthesized the findings of seven studies published between 2010 and 2020. The sample-weighted, pooled estimate among the most internally valid, experimental studies suggested that the chances of being hired and so gainfully employed were 40% lower among Muslim women wearing the hijab than they were among, otherwise similar, Muslim women not wearing the hijab: relative risk (RR) = 0.60 within a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.54, 0.67. This religion-based discrimination effect was deemed hugely significant in human, public health and policy senses. Immigration trends suggest that millions of Muslim women in the west likely experienced such employment discrimination over the past generation, and millions more are bound to similarly suffer over the next generation if policy statusquos are retained. It seems that much of the relatively greater employment discrimination experienced by Muslim women who wear the hijab is due largely to potential employers' prejudicial reactions to the hijab itself. Practice and policy implications and future research needs are discussed.



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