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No jobs for women wearing ‘Hijab’ in Germany and Netherlands

In Germany 53 per cent of unveiled Muslim women got a positive feedback from employers, only around 25 per cent of veiled women heard back from the workplaces.

Female candidates looking for jobs while wearing ‘Hijab’ in Germany and Netherlands received less positive feedback from employers, new study finds.

The European Sociological Review Journal has exposed a strong evidence of job discrimination against hijab wearing Muslim women in the Netherlands and Germany.

The discrimination generally occurred when the job required face-to-face public dealings with clients and customers. The researchers also found that veiled women in Spain were less discriminated when compared to the Netherlands and Germany.

The three researchers  Marina Fernandez-Reino, Valentina Di Stasio and Susanne Veit identified whether employers discriminated against all Muslim applicants (veiled or unveiled), or just those who adhered to Muslim religious practices such as wearing the hijab or headscarf, TRT World reported today. 

They picked a set of candidates and filed two job applications for each one of them. One application was attached with a hijab-wearing photograph and the other without a hijab.  Religious affiliation of unveiled Muslim women were signaled through their volunteering activities in a religious centre.


The job postings varied from a hairdresser and shop assistant to receptionist and sales representative – the occupations that require a high degree of face-to-face customer contact. 

The selected occupations vary in their educational requirements, with cooks, shop assistants, and hairdressers generally requiring lower qualifications than the rest of the jobs in all the three countries.

In Germany 53 per cent of unveiled Muslim women got a positive feedback from employers, only around 25 per cent of veiled women heard back from the workplaces.

In the Netherlands, almost 70 percent of job applications that included a photograph of an unveiled woman received a positive callback for jobs requiring high customer-contact. But for applications with hijab-clad photographs the positive rate was 35 percent. 

“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,” the researchers noted.

In Spain, however, the level of discrimination against veiled Muslim women were not statistically significant.

The recent findings were complementary to some studies indicating that veiled Muslim women were disadvantaged in the job market.

research conducted by Doris Weichselbaumer from Cornell University found in 2019 that in Germany, not only the hijab wearing women, but also women with non-German names implying immigrant background also faced discrimination. 

Call-back rates for a job interview of the same applicant with a German name and unveiled photo was 18.8 percent while it was only 13.5 percent when applicant had a Turkish name and unveiled photo. 

The combination of a Turkish name and headscarf proved to be the most discriminated section among all applications as their call back rate remained only at 4.2 percent.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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