Female Job Applicants With Hijab Face More Discrimination in Europe: Study

Veiled Muslim women experience discrimination from clients and customers during job hunting in Netherlands and Germany, as per a study published in the European Sociological Review.

Three researchers — Marina Fernandez-Reino, Valentina Di Stasio, and Susanne Veit — carried out the experiment to determine if veiled Muslim job applicants face public backlash from clients and customers in the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany.

The researchers selected a set of candidates and submitted two job applications for each of them. One of the applications had a photograph of the applicant wearing a hijab, while the other showed the applicant without a hijab but detailed that they had volunteered at a religious center.

The applications were sent for job postings for hairdressers, shop assistants, receptionists, and sales representatives, all of which require a high degree of face-to-face customer contact. The selected occupations had varied educational requirements, with the jobs for cooks, shop assistants, and hairdressers mandating lower qualifications than the rest of the jobs in all three countries.

Findings in the Netherlands

Nearly 70 percent of the job applications that included a photograph of unveiled applicant received a positive callback for the jobs that had high customer contact, whereas the positivity rate for the veiled applications was 35 percent.

The researchers remarked that “The high level of discrimination we found in the Netherlands, where the institutional context has traditionally been open to the accommodation of religious minority rights, is particularly surprising and points to the possibly stigmatizing effect of recent policies geared towards the cultural assimilation of immigrants”.

Findings in Germany

It was noted that 53 percent of the non-hijabi Muslim applicants received positive response from employers while only 25 percent of the hijab-wearing women got callbacks.

Findings in Spain

The veiled applicants faced almost no discrimination in Spain as compared to the Netherlands and Germany.

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