Last Updated: Mon Dec 10, 2012 16:13 pm (KSA) 13:13 pm (GMT)

British Muslim women remove hijab to end their unemployment woes

Muslim women like other female ethnic minority groups in the UK are twice as likely to be unemployed in comparison to white women of the same age and caliber. (Reuters)
Muslim women like other female ethnic minority groups in the UK are twice as likely to be unemployed in comparison to white women of the same age and caliber. (Reuters)

British Muslim women remove the Islamic headscarf, commonly known as hijab, to increase their prospects of being employed, a UK-based newspaper reported Friday.

Muslim women like other female ethnic minority groups in the UK are twice as likely to be unemployed in comparison to white women of the same age and caliber, the Guardian newspaper cited a report from MPs and peers.

While Muslim women remove their hijabs, some other minority groups attempt to change their names to sound more English to reduce discrimination, the report said, adding that the rate of unemployment suffered by these women remained stagnant over the last three decades.

“Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are particularly affected, with 20.5 percent being unemployed compared to 6.8 percent of white women, with 17.7 percent of black women also being unemployed,” the report said.

“We believe that evidence shows that there are varied and complex barriers facing Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women which are different from those facing white women or ethnic minority men,” it added, advising that approach of successive governments must change.

“Based on this, we would argue that the government’s ‘color-blind’ approach to tackling unemployment is not appropriate in dealing with the specific issues facing women from these groups.”

According to the report, employers assume Muslim women would stop work after having children. Also, due to discrimination and the expected extra barriers, the report found that minority women have “deselected themselves” by not applying for jobs.

Labor MP David Lammy, who chairs the all-party group, said: “It is staggering that in 21st century Britain there are women who felt they had to remove their hijab or change their name just to be able to compete on the same terms as other candidates when looking for jobs.”

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